Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Animal Magic for Charity's Youngsters; Children Take Trip to Zoo Gardens

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Animal Magic for Charity's Youngsters; Children Take Trip to Zoo Gardens

Article excerpt

Byline: RUTH LAWSON

A GROUP of disabled youngsters got up close and personal with these creatures. The children were guests of honour at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens on a recent trip to meet the animals and to test out the newlyrefurbished play and lunch area. The Chronicle's Sunshine Fund charity were invited to bring families along to sample the many delights on offer at the Northumberland-based attraction. They spent the day cuddling up with bunny rabbits and the braver of the bunch even got to grips with snakes.

Brother and sister Isaac and Ruby Smith, seven, enjoyed the fun day out with their mum Johanna.

The family, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, had never visited the gardens before and made the most of the VIP treatment.

Johanna, a PhD student, said: "We had never been before and, to be honest, I didn't even know the Zoological Gardens were there, but it was a really nice day and a fun thing to do locally. "Isaac and Ruby were really excited to see the animals and meet up with other Sunshine families. Ruby really enjoyed the play park.

"But the staff got some of the animals out of their cages and the kids got to hold them, which was great."

Isaac, nine, had a rocky start to life when he was born 10 weeks prematurely and, as a result, has complex cerebral palsy and a hearing impairment.

But he and his family have benefited from grants for muchneeded equipment provided by the Sunshine Fund to help him live an active life.

"We really appreciate being invited along by the Sunshine Fund, it was a lovely to see everything and everyone had a great day. "We're definitely going to go back as a family and see it again," added Johanna.

The play and lunch area, at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, was recently revamped thanks to generous time and resource donations by Debenhams and flooring store Franks, who donated the carpet. …

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