A TRIO of primary schools in Northwich and Winsford have raised money to support Chester Zoo as part of the #WT35Challenge.

Children and staff from The Weaver Trust schools Comberbach Nursery and Primary, Barnton Community Nursery and Primary and The Grange Community Primary used 35 as the magic number to raise money for the zoo which was threatened with closure only last month.

The challenge was inspired by the 35,000 animals in the famous visitor attraction, and there has been a fantastic response from their school communities in support of the cause. 

Annette Williams, Weaver Trust executive headteacher, said: “We are incredibly proud of our school communities for their amazing and inventive fundraising ideas. Chester Zoo is hugely important to us all and we are delighted to have come together as a trust to do what we can to support it during these difficult times.” 

In Comberbach Year 2 teacher Miss Stojic cycled 35km to visit each of the children in her class while siblings Brandon, Theo and Oscar Jones completed two bike rides, totalling over 35 miles and nursery pupil Arlo Gibney raised more than £580 by walking 35,139 steps – the number of animals in the zoo. Other pledges included learning to say hello in 35 different languages, ironing 35 items of clothing and learning 35 different sign-language signs.

Head of school, Sally Dakin, said: “Our children, families and staff have really risen to the Weaver Trust #35pledge challenge, and we are incredibly proud of them.

At Winsford’s Grange Community Nursery and Primary School, Ellie-Louise Lloyd-Pugh walked 35,000 steps with her mum Kathryn to raise more than £100 in donations.

Sara Albiston, head of school, said: “We are just so proud of our children, staff and fantastic community for their efforts with this pledge. Ellie-Louise has been remarkable with her efforts and dedication to helping Chester Zoo. We cannot thank her enough.”

Barnton Community Nursery and Primary School pupils Tilly and Acacia Young took on the challenge of 'Minecraft-ing' 35 of the Chester Zoo animals, including a sloth, red panda, and black rhino. Rosa and Summer MacDonald had their faces painted as 35 different animals, while Niamh and Isla Craig sketched 35 different animals, and reception children class created an animal collage. 

Headteacher Alison Lawson said: “We have been amazed by their creative ideas. All these challenges have reminded us how we value the conservation work carried out by the zoo.”