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Help make the dream of these two little fundraisers come true

PUBLISHED: 11:56 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:08 11 June 2020

Connor Root, who is raising money to keep Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! open. Pic: submitted

Connor Root, who is raising money to keep Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! open. Pic: submitted

A pride of lion-hearted Norfolk children are raising thousands of pounds to save their beloved local zoos from closure.

Connor Root, who is raising money to keep Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! open. Pic: submittedConnor Root, who is raising money to keep Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! open. Pic: submitted

The youngsters are worried that Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk may not be able to keep running after suffering £1.5m losses from being closed for three months because of coronavirus.

Zoos were given the green light to reopen by the government from next Monday although the Zoological Society of East Anglia, which runs Banham and Africa Alive! has said the venues will not reopen until next month to allow a deep clean.

Already one customer, eight-year-old Jemima Howe, has done her bit to help, raising more than £1,200 by cycling 100km. Now other children are also rallying to the cause.

Esme Jackman, who is raising money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! Pic: submittedEsme Jackman, who is raising money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! Pic: submitted

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Connor Root, six, from Harleston, has already raised £5,620, planning to cycle 100 miles in 30 days this month with his dad James.

His target was £100.

Africa Alive and Banham Zoo hope to reopen around July. Picture: Nick ButcherAfrica Alive and Banham Zoo hope to reopen around July. Picture: Nick Butcher

Proud mum Kerry said: “Both zoos are our favourite places to visit as a family and we would all be devastated if they had to close. We love all the animals; Connor’s favourite is Sam the eagle and it would be so sad to see them having to be moved elsewhere.

“Our son wanted to raise £100, he has had lots of support, but we need much much more if we are to save the zoos.”

Meanwhile Esme Jackman, five, from Tivetshall, is also fundraising. She ran 5km in 50 minutes with the ambitious aim of raising £900. Despite mum Rebecca’s misgivings, the youngster is beyond twice that amount, with her appeal currently having raised £1,860.

Mrs Jackman said: “My little girl was so upset to learn about Banham Zoo potentially closing. She started to cry and within minutes said: ‘I am going to raise money for them.’ As a mama, we all protect our children by shielding them from disappointment.

“So when Esme decided she wanted to raise £900, naturally as a mum I said: ‘How about we aim for £100? That’s a lot of money’.

“Well, shame on me for tempering my five year-old’s dream as she has reached her goal and more. This should be a lesson to us all to aim high.”

To donate to Connor click here

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To donate to Esme click here

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