Children from five Dorset schools and another in Andover, Hampshire, enjoyed a magical day at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre thanks to Variety.

125 children with their carers and teachers, were welcomed at the facility. Although it was a scorching hot day, the apes came out of their cool hiding places so their young visitors could see them.

Some were as curious to see the children as they were to see them. The visiting youngsters stayed cool in the shade and watched as the animals, including squirrel monkeys, ring-tailed lemurs and capuchins enjoyed lollies made from frozen fruit.

Monkey World, a 65 acre ape and monkey sanctuary in Dorset, is run by Dr Alison Cronin and her team. It is home to 21 species of primates including chimpanzees, orang-utans and gibbons that have been rescued from restrictive and often miserable lives in circuses, as living props for beach photographers as well as many that are unwanted and abandoned pets. The centre aims to give them as natural and enjoyable life as possible in a secure and peaceful habitat where they are looked after by experts, who understand their needs and how to care for them.

Frances Cornelius, Chair of Variety Wessex, who organised the trip, said:

“Thank you to Alison and the staff at Monkey World for always welcoming everybody and ensuring they all have a fabulous day. I would also like to thank the Variety supporters and volunteer fundraisers without whom these days would not be possible and my volunteer committee members Judy Hiscoke and Avril Owton for overseeing the day and ensuring everything ran smoothly”.

The Schools on the trip were:

  • Bethany Junior School and Langside School in Bournemouth
  • Beaucroft Foundation School in Wimborne
  • Westfield Arts College Wyvern Academy in Weymouth
  • The Mark Way School in Andover