Burnley friends' walk on the wild side for Chester Zoo

A group of friends are preparing for a walk on the wild side - by striding all the way from Burnley to Chester Zoo to raise money for the struggling institution.

By Dominic Collis
Monday, 29th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 29th June 2020, 1:16 pm

Animal lover Nathan Heywood (28) said he felt compelled to do something for Chester Zoo after reading its impassioned pleas for support after lockdown measures had left it struggling with debt.

He has now recruited wife Anni and friends to do the 57 mile walk and has set up a GoFundMe page, which has already raised £877.

One of those friends, Ashley Richards (33) has been working on the frontline during the coronavirus crisis for the NHS at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

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Anni Heywood, Adele Maguire, Ashley Richards and Nathan Heywood preparing for the walk

Accounts assistant Nathan has overcome challenges before the walk, having struggled with back and knee injuries in the past.

He said: "Animals are important in nearly everyone's life, as they are in mine, my wife's and my little girls. Seeing Chester Zoo struggle through this difficult time with all the great things they do for animals, I felt I couldn't stand by and watch them go into debt and struggle to look after the animals without funds.

"Therefore, I'm trying to now raise as much as I can to help them continue the great work they do.

"We're doing this over two days and a week apart to make sure I don't stress any of the back or knee injuries I currently have. For those who know me will know that this won't be an easy task for myself weighing 18 stone and not being in great shape and having recently given up grassroots football on Sunday mornings through continuous injuries.

"Hopefully we can raise funds to help this amazing company which has brought us happiness throughout all of our lives and who care for so many defenceless animals."

Teacher Adele Maguire (33) will also be joining them on the walk.

Solicitor Anni (32) said: "The walk will be challenging for all involved but we are determined to raise as much money as possible to help the zoo recover financially.

"Obviously the zoo has reopened now, however they have confirmed they are still in a lot of debt from having to pay the majority of wages despite being closed. Hence we feel it is still just as important to continue to try and raise as much money for them as possible."

The group are doing the walk on July 18th and 25th over two legs, starting at 7am.

To support the group visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/walking-for-chester-zoo?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1