In case you missed the news, the government has ordered Chester Zoo to stay closed indefinitely, throwing the future of the much-loved zoo into doubt.
To help save the zoo from closure, a fundraising campaign was launched and as we reported yesterday it had raised more than £800,000 in less than a day.
Things haven’t slowed down either, and today we’re happy to report that the Save Our Zoo campaign has raised its monthly target of £1.6m in just over 24 hours – at the time of writing, the total stands at £1,651,254.
Chester Zoo is the UK’s biggest and most popular charity zoo that provides conservation to many endangered species.
Throughout lockdown, the zoo has taken to social media to provide virtual days around the zoo. The virtual days lasted for hours at a time and included an array of animals, educational pieces and the chance to watch feedings.
The zoo took to its Facebook again this week, but this time with a message titled ‘Save Our Zoo’.
The post revealed that the staff had received the devastating news that they would have to remain closed despite putting safety measures in place and ensuring they are COVID secure.
The statement says: “We’ve tried to stay positive during this pandemic, we’ve planned for our opening, we’ve cut no corners in terms of care for our animals and commitment to our conservation work, we’ve looked forward to welcoming You back soon.
“But we have now received the devastating news that the government has ordered us to ‘stay closed indefinitely’ despite being ‘COVID secure’ and able to safely manage numbers and social distancing.
“While other ticketed gardens open this week our 128 acres must stay closed. This has thrown the future of the zoo into doubt.”
The zoo recently released pictures of the new safety measures it had put in place, hoping it would be able to reopen the doors in July.
The statement addresses the issue of the public ‘piling onto’ beauty spots where there is ‘no way of controlling numbers’, stating that the zoo is able to guarantee people keep socially distanced and can easily control numbers.
The charity now needs to raise £1.6m a month to save it.
In an update yesterday, council environmental health officers have given Chester Zoo the green light to reopen with safeguards in place, now the zoo just needs the government to grant permission.
Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Cllr Louise Gittins said in a statement: “The council’s environmental health officers have been involved in Chester Zoo’s preparations for a safe opening and we are confident that the measures being taken will enable the zoo to operate safely, with significant public health measures in place.
“We fully support the campaign launched today by Chester Zoo, and call on government to apply more consistency and evidence in its plans for safe re-opening, with the support of local public health teams.”
The zoo is urging people to make a donation here, adopt an animal from your favourite species here, become a member of the zoo here, or if you already do, keep paying your membership fees.
Manchester woman given months to live told she is now cancer free
What an amazing story!
A woman from Manchester has made a miraculous recovery from cancer after she was given just months to live.
Jasmin David says she feels ‘reborn’ following the incredible news that she is cancer free, after her previous devastating diagnosis.
Doctors told the 51-year-old from Fallowfield that she had less than a year to live after breast cancer spread to her lungs, lymph nodes and chest bone, as per Granada Reports.
However, after taking part in a clinical trial at Manchester’s The Christie Hospital, using experimental medicines, she’s been given the all clear.
Jasmin worked in a care home and was previously fit and healthy, but she became worried when she discovered a lump by her nipple in 2017 – it turned out to be an aggressive triple negative form of breast cancer.
After undergoing six gruelling months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy in April 2018, as well as 15 cycles of radiotherapy, her body was cleared of the cancer.
Sadly the cancer returned in October 2019, with scans showing multiple lesions throughout her body leading to a poor prognosis – following which she took part in the clinical trial, two months later.
Jasmin was given an experimental medicine at The Christie, combined with Atezolizumab – which is an immunotherapy drug – with doctors revealing she now shows no evidence of the disease.
Jasmin told Granada Reports: “At first I had many horrible side effects including headaches and spiking temperatures, so I was in hospital over Christmas and quite poorly. Then thankfully I started to respond well to the treatment.
“I celebrated my 50th birthday in February 2020 while still in the middle of treatment and not knowing what the future held.
“Two and a half years ago I thought it was the end and I now feel like I’ve been reborn.
“There is a change in my life after returning from India to see family in April and I have decided to take early retirement and to live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science.
“My family have been very supportive of this decision. I will be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in September. I have so much to look forward to.
“My Christian faith helped me a lot on this journey and the prayers and support from family and friends gave me strength to face the challenge.”
Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Director of Manchester CRF at The Christie, and is leading the study, added: “We are really pleased that Jasmin has had such a good outcome.
“At The Christie we are continually testing new drugs and therapies to see if they can benefit more people.”
Congratulations Jasmin, and all the best in the rest of your recovery!
Charley Gadd died after ‘messing around’ with his parents in prank gone wrong
A heartbreaking update
An inquest has heard that the university student who was found dead after going missing from The Warehouse Project had run away as a ‘prank’.
Tragically, Charley Gadd was found dead in the River Irwell near MediaCity on January 10th after a month-long search by police.
It’s now been reported that Charley had run away from his parents during a night out in a prank that turned tragic.
While out with his parents, Jolyon and Kimberley Gadd, at The Warehouse Project on December 11th 2021 he ‘ran off’ while messing around, with Jolyon saying his son had ‘already run away once that night as a joke’.
He said: “I went chasing after him, running a couple of blocks. He fell over and I picked him up. He found it really funny that I was so unfit and we walked off arm in arm. Then we went to get something for him to eat, but he ran off again.”
According to his parents, the 20-year-old ran away while near the Spar Store in St Mary’s Gate at roughly 1.10am on Saturday December 11th – his last movements were seen on CCTV as he headed towards St Annes Street near the Royal Exchange Theatre around 1.15am.
His worried family reported him missing to GMP after spending hours trying to locate him.
Police Coroners Officer David Wood from GMP told Stockport Coroners Court that CCTV showed Charley walking towards St Mary’s parsonage, before being spotted in a car park overlooking the River Irwell.
According to Wood, at 1.18am Charley headed across the car park, which was bordered by a steep drop down into the Irwell, and he was not seen to leave on any camera footage – his body was tragically found several weeks later.
Addressing his parents, Senior Coroner Alison Mutch said: “There was nothing you could do to change what happened, it is one of those tragic accidents that sometimes life brings.”
She added: “This is such a very, very sad situation, particularly for Charley’s family who have lost a beloved son and a beloved brother. It’s clear that Charley was a very intelligent young man, with a very bright future in front of him.
“He was very close with his parents who had a very loving relationship, they had music in common and had been to various music venues together including Wembley, Brighton and then Manchester in December.
“It’s clear that on the night in question Charley was messing around and ran off and sadly became completely disorientated in a city that he was unfamiliar with. I can only imagine the anguish his parents felt that night looking for Charley and wondering what on earth to do.”
Mutch continued: “At that time of year it would have been very challenging to get out. I am satisfied it was a complete accident that happened due to a series of bad luck.
“The car park was dark and he would have been able to see the bright lights on the other side but would have had no idea there was a river between him and the bright lights.”
Jolyon said of his son, who lived in Sudbury, Suffolk: “He packed a huge amount into a tragically short life. I was hugely proud of him. I could not have been prouder.”
Angela Rayner accuses Dominic Raab of ‘snobbery’ after he mocked her opera trip
The deputy prime minister took issue with Rayner’s recent outing to the opera
Angela Rayner has accused Dominic Raab of ‘snobbery’ after he mocked her recent trip to the opera during this week’s PMQs.
The deputy Labour leader, from Stockport, was pictured sipping champagne at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera last week, where she watched the Marriage of Figaro.
Her outing took place on the same week the RMT rail strikes were taking place, causing severe travel disruption across the country.
Raab asked MPs: “Where was she when the comrades were on the picket line last Thursday? Where was she when the Labour front bench were joining them rather than standing up for the public?
“She was at the Glyndebourne music festival sipping champagne, listening to opera. Champagne socialism is back in the Labour Party.”
Raab was also seen winking at Rayner following his remark, an action that has been met by confusion and disgust by many critics.
In response, Rayner said in a statement shortly afterwards: “My advice to the deputy prime minister is to cut out the snobbery and brush up on his opera.
“The Marriage of Figaro is the story of a working-class woman who gets the better of a privileged but dim-witted villain.
“Judging by his own performance today, Dominic Raab could learn a lesson about opening up the arts to everyone, whatever their background.”
Rayner later took to Twitter to share a photo of herself and one of the show’s violinists Tom Esiner at the event, writing: “Dominic Raab won’t approve but I did indeed go the opera last week (it cost me £62).
“Tom Eisner, a working-class lad from Buxton near where I grew up kindly invited me. He’s been playing violin at Glyndebourne for 36 years. Never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough.”
And in response to a social media user who said she feels ‘soiled’ after seeing Raab’s wink, Rayner simply responded: “Imagine how I feel!”.