Bird keeper's marathon effort to support ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

George is preparing to run a marathon around the zoo

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 4:02 pm

A bird keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will be running a marathon around the zoo to raise money to support ZSL's Whipsnade and London Zoos, who have been struggling financially during the coronavirus lockdown.

Both zoos closed in March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as the country went into lockdown, although both have now reopened, they still need support to secure the future of the zoos and the global science and conservation work ZSL does.

George Spooner, from Markyate, never had an interest in running until the country went into lockdown in March, now he is preparing to run a marathon on Friday, June 19.

George will be running a marathon around the zoo on Friday (C) ZSL

He said: "I am trying to raise as much money as possible for the zoo by running a marathon around the zoo.

"I grew up in Markyate, I work at the zoo and I have been coming here all my life, so when I heard about them struggling financially I wanted to do something to help.

"I have never been into running until lockdown began, and I started to run around the zoo in the evenings and I thought I could run round the zoo and raise money for it at the same time.

"I was hoping to raise £500, and it has gone way over that and we are now over £3,300, which is amazing.

George is a bird keeper at Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL

"The support I have received has been amazing, it is nice to see the local community giving to the zoo, the fundraising page is full of lovely comments.

"I am looking forward to it, I am a bit nervous, but even if my legs fail, I will crawl to the finishing line."

The 27-year-old will be taking on the marathon challenge at 8.30am tomorrow (Friday), he is hoping to complete it by about 2pm, the distance for a marathon will see him go around the zoo 13 times.

He added: "I will go past the hippos, then the zebras and the flamingos, round the tiger bend with the ostrich on the side, past the sloth bears and camels, and then the Indian rhinos and down by the elephant car park, birds and goats, passed the aquarium and up to the visitor centre and past the lemurs, lynx, boar and chimpanzees and back round again.

George, a bird keeper at Whipsnade Zoo, will be running a marathon to raise money for ZSL (C) ZSL

"It will be tough, but it is a great view!

A spokesperson for Whipsnade Zoo said: "We are a conservation charity, we have re-opened but we still need the public's support.

"We have had amazing support from the public and we are grateful for all the donations, by supporting George, you will be supporting the zoo."

Geroge has raised over £3,300, to make a donation visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-spooner1.