Dreams come true for disabled children at Alfriston zoo

Drusillas dream night JPSE
Drusillas dream night JPSE

Dreams came true for more than 700 people when they attended a magical evening at Drusillas Park for chronically ill and disabled children and their families.

The zoo, in Alfriston, hosted its annual Dreamnight event on Friday (June 7).

Dreamnight is a charity event which takes place around the world on the first Friday of June.

Each zoo organises the evening in their own way but in all cases the children are welcomed as VIPs and get to meet the animals.

The evening included a special guest appearance from Spot the Dog, two live performances by students from The Theatre Workshop and volunteers from Pets as Therapy also attended with a group of their four-legged friends.

There were also close animal encounters, face painting, and a rare opportunity to see the animals after hours.

Drusillas Park’s Managing Director Laurence Smith said: “It’s been another fantastic evening and we hope that all our guests have enjoyed the evening as much as our staff.

“Everyone has volunteered their time and services to bring about this special event.

“We have also had a great deal of support from local businesses, suppliers and other individuals for which we are extremely grateful, including Alfriston Heartstart who attended for the third year running.

“We are delighted to be able to provide this opportunity for children who may not otherwise be able to visit the zoo during our usual opening hours.”

The Park was decorated with contributions from Sugarloaf Party Shop, Rare Displays and Tansleys Printers Ltd provided a souvenir programme for each guest.

Plus Style Marquee provided a large marquee for the evening, in case the weather deterioated.

Each child also received a gift, supported by a large number of generous donations.

Guests travelled to the event from throughout the South East after receiving tickets from various organisations including Demelza House, Chailey Heritage, Children with Cancer Fund and The Royal Alexander Hospital.

They were greeted by the Mayor of Seaford Cllr Anthony White, the Mayor of Newhaven Cllr Julie Carr and the Mayor of Lewes Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe.

Councillor O’Keefe said: “It was a worthwhile and lovely evening.

“It was amazing.

“It is a relaxed evening in a safe environment for children who are disabled or chronically ill.

“It is just a wonderful evening and people feel like they are special.”