12/02/2021

A Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Our Volunteers

Volunteers are the beating heart of so many charity organisations around the UK, and Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project are no exceptions.

With more than 300 volunteers across both sites, the impact of their contribution is invaluable. On 20 January 2021, Bristol Zoological Society took the opportunity to say a huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers, especially those who have shown incredible dedication over the years, at the Volunteer Recognition and Loyalty Awards.

2020 was a uniquely challenging year and the continued support for Bristol Zoological Society from volunteers either in-person, through the volunteer navigator role or in spirit from their homes, has been truly incredible. As with so many things this last year, the Volunteer Recognition and Loyalty Awards went online, with a great turn out of over 100 people in one Zoom group chat getting a chance to catch up after such a long time apart.

It is important to remember the contributions made by volunteers, not just over this difficult last 12 months, but also over many years and decades. Amongst those receiving awards were Margaret Seaman and Belinda Pascal, both of whom have been giving the Society their time for 25 years and were among the first volunteers to join the scheme. In that time they have made thousands of visitors’ days, found extra time to help with special events, painted countless faces and kept Santa’s Grotto running smoothly for over 20 Christmases.

To show their gratitude, the volunteers were joined at the awards by the Society’s Executive Board, the Chair of Trustees, Charlotte Moar, and Trustee, David Esam. There was also a visit from retired Volunteer Services Manager, Ann Lovell, who left the Society in the summer after some 20 years. Ann developed the volunteer scheme at Bristol Zoo Gardens and helped to establish the younger scheme at Wild Place Project.

Volunteer Coordinator, Ian Rodgerson summed up the event as “a great success”. He added: “Seeing so many familiar faces log in to join us really goes to show the incredible sense of community the Society has fostered. Considering the challenges we have all faced over the past year, we could not be happier that so many people still feel a connection to the Society and the roles they carried out. We are looking forward to a time when we can safely get as many of our volunteers back at both sites to do what they do best and make the days of our staff, visitors and animals just that little bit better.”

So a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers for their donated time over many years at the Society and to hopefully a more recognisable future. A huge, and for now digital, round of applause for all the volunteers receiving awards:

3 years: Alison Grindley, Allen Graham, Amber Kenyon, April Steward, Carey Hand, Carmel Hand, Carol Gladwin, Celia Zlobec, Daniel Nisbett, David Jenkins, Dylan Thomas, Eileen Grindey, George Hill, Graham Cawley, Helen Jones, Iain Watkins , Jane Daw, Jess Gray, Julie Griffiths, Lisa Wills, Luke Smith, Mike Rose, Moira Nicoll, Natasha Murphy, Oisin Davis-Lyons, Phil Baber, Pippa Millar, Rosie Dickens, Rosie Richardson, Sarah Essex, Shannon Bowle, Shelley Whittington, Sonia Watts, Steph Dando, Stephen James Hoos, Steve Barton, Steve Palmer, Sue Cullimore, Tim Broadribb, Tim Plummer, Tom Smith, Tony Griffiths.

5 years: Alex Davey, Ann Arthur, Beth Wilcox, Clive Skuse, Jane Ferris, Karen Crowley, Kate Copeland, Mike Harris, Monika Brenard, Rebekah Hammett.

10 years: Di Baker, Ian Rodgerson, Mike Coles, John Wrigley, Sophie Redmond.

15 years: Fred Luton, Maureen Clark, Pauline Kirkpatrick, Phaedra Turner.

20 years: Gay Pallister, Jo Purcell.

25 years: Belinda Pascal, Margaret Seaman.

Are you looking to volunteer at Bristol Zoological Society? Due to the Government’s Coronavirus restrictions, the volunteer programme is on hold. However, please keep checking back for the most up-to-date information or subscribe to our email newsletter.

Now faced with a third closure, the BZS Appeal is more important than ever

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Now faced with a third closure, the BZS Appeal is more important than ever