Posted: Sat 19th Dec 2020

‘Superstar’ fundraisers highlighted by Chester Zoo

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 19th, 2020

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A number of ‘superstars’ who have raised funds for the ‘Save Our Zoo’ campaign have been highlighted by Chester Zoo.

The registered charity thanked all 130,000 donors and 1,300 fundraisers who raised money all over the world for them in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over £3m was fundraised via running challenges, bake sales, head shaves and virtual mountain climbs as well as many other creative ideas after £5.5m was lost in finances.

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chief Executive Officer at Chester Zoo, said: “Although the zoo was able to reopen, which is vital to our future survival, there’s still a long way to go before we’re fully back on track.

“Our closure due to the pandemic has left a huge £5.5m scar in our finances, so there is no denying that there will be some very challenging times ahead for this great charity zoo.

“This has been one of the worst crises in the zoo’s history, but our hearts have been warmed by seeing the endless kindness, love and support flood in from our supporters. 

“We’ve seen whole communities and individuals from all walks of life come together with one common goal – to help save our zoo.

“We’re so incredibly grateful to our wonderful supporters who have and continue to fundraise for us – taking on all manner of weird, wonderful, and remarkable challenges. 

“We’re truly overwhelmed by the kindness that’s being shown to us when times are hard for everyone, not just us. Each and every fundraiser is absolutely crucial to us – helping to make sure we have a future in our mission to prevent extinction.”

The period of closure the zoo endured during the pandemic meant they lost out on 97 per cent of revenue with outgoing costs totalling £1.6m a month to keep going.

Six-year-old Jimmy Roose from Mold set out to complete a marathon run of 26 miles around his hometown, running a mile a day throughout June to help out Chester Zoo.

Finishing in a total of 19 days, Jimmy completed the challenge and smashed his target of £500, surpassing it with £4,690.

For his penultimate mile, two local Mold residents and Chester Zoo employees joined the run dressed as a gorilla and tiger.

Carl Askew, Facilities Manager at Chester Zoo, said: “What Jimmy has done for the zoo is amazing and living so locally to me made me feel even more proud of his achievement.”

In another running challenge, Salford Teaching Assistant Brendan Rendall ran 31 marathons in various inflatable animal costumes, raising over £12,300 for the charity.

The 41-year old ran a half marathon every day in June, a marathon every day in July, and ran from Salford to Chester Zoo in August for a total of 1,204 miles.

During the second lockdown, Brendan began another challenge which will see him run 10km every day from 7 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.

He said: “The zoo is very close to my heart. I’ve been working with children with special education needs for the last 12 years and have taken them to the zoo many times and they’ve absolutely loved it, as have I!

“When I heard about the zoo’s plight due to the coronavirus pandemic and saw it had launched its urgent Save Our Zoo campaign, I had to do something to help.

“I decided to test myself and take on this fancy dress running challenge. With the year we’re all experiencing so far, I just wanted to do something fun, make people laugh, smile and inspire them to donate.”

Having to stop during this second fundraiser due to catching COVID-19, Brendan will now be forced to continue in the New Year.

Kids Planet Nursery raised £20,000 by encouraging their 2,000 staff, 7,000 children and their families to complete a collective 1,700 miles by walking, hopping or jumping.

Their CEO, Clare Roberts, said: “It’s been a tough year for our families and our staff, as well as Chester Zoo.

“I am so thrilled to see how quickly we surpassed our targets and want to say a huge well done to our staff, children and their families for such a successful combined effort throughout this campaign. We know how much Chester Zoo means to us our staff and families and this is evident in their actions.

“The animal kingdom and their survival, or threatened extinction, can teach all of us a thing or two about sustainability and environmental responsibilities. We believe children should learn the importance of giving and experience the wonderful feelings that it can instil to do something for the good of others.

“But overall, we encourage learning through play and what better way to encourage our children to take an interest in the world around them.”

Launched in June 2020, the ‘Save Our Zoo’ campaign continues to appeal for public support which can be pledged by adopting an animal, donating or becoming a member.

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