A FAMILY firm has helped raise hundreds of pounds to support Colchester Zoo during lockdown.

The zoo has had to close its doors during all three lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Savings are being eaten away by the day-to-day running costs, while the majority of the zoo’s overseas conservation support has been suspended.

As a result, the zoo launched an emergency operating fund following the first coronavirus lockdown in March and has been helped by kind-hearted residents donating.

Colchester-based Allen and Clarke Plumbing and Heating Ltd has also stepped up to help.

To date it has collected £1,400 for the Maldon Road attraction.

Back in April the firm let customers know it would be donating set amounts from the cost of services it offers to the zoo.

Director Amy Allen said: “We have enjoyed countless trips to our fantastic zoo over the years with our children, friends and family.

“Our children who love the zoo were concerned for the animals and wanted to help.”

The families also set about creating free lockdown events for youngsters in Layer de la Haye and Langenhoe to enjoy.

Amy added: “During the first lockdown our children wanted to help bring the zoo to the children of our villages.

“Together with our children we created zoo stones, using stickers of animals donated to us from the zoo. We then varnished these on to more than 100 stones we collected on our daily walks.

“We hid more than 50 stones in our home villages of Layer de la Haye and Langenhoe for children to search for on their daily lockdown walks and to remember our zoo.

“We also created a Colchester Zoo-themed scavenger hunt for children to search for animal- themed clues in the villages.

“We then arranged a hand delivered zoo-themed goodie bag for the children to enjoy including stickers, bubbles and animal crossword and colouring pictures.”

The firm hopes to continue to donate to the zoo throughout the latest lockdown.

Once the lockdown is over the team will visit the zoo to hand over the cheque to staff.

Set across 60 acres and caring for more than 10,000 animals, the attraction costs more than £500,000 per month for animal welfare and upkeep.

To donate to the zoo’s operating fund, visit www.colchester-zoo.com/colchester-zoo-operating-fund.

  • The Gazette wants to support and celebrate its independent businesses. To tell us about one which is rising above the challenges of the pandemic, email gazette.newsdesk@newsquest.co.uk.