Paignton without a zoo like ‘Blackpool without its tower’

Andrew Barrand who was with a party of Torbay councillors on a visit to Paignton Zoo

Andrew Barrand who was with a party of Torbay councillors on a visit to Paignton Zoo - Credit: Archant

Torbay councillors swapped zoom for the zoo to show their support to save Paignton Zoo

Zoo Appeal new logo

Zoo Appeal new logo - Credit: Archant

A party of Torbay councillors swapped zoom meetings for a day out at the zoo.

The visit was to demonstrate their support for Paignton Zoo which is under threat due to a cash crisis after more than three months of Lockdown and no visitors or revenues coming through the gates.

The Torbay Weekly has launched a Save Our Zoo campaign and is working with the zoo to appeal for donations and encourage fund-raising events.

The zoo trip was the idea of councillor Nick Bye. It was attended by 15 councillors including Leader Steve Darling, his wife and councillor Mandy, and Mayor Maggi Douglas Dunbar

Mr Bye said: 'I am delighted to report the visit was a great success. I think we were all pleased to have a Zoo meeting rather than a Zoom meeting. 'Simon Tonge (the zoo's chief executive) kindly met us and outlined the challenges faced.

'On a more positive note, there were numerous young families enjoying the special ambience of the Zoo and a wonderful day out.

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'It really is a special place and along with the Steam Railway and our safe beaches an important part of our tourism offer. Paignton without the Zoo would be like Blackpool without its Tower.

'Councillors wanted to show support, purchasing their tickets and annual passes, with at least one generous additional donation. I very much hope the local community will support the Zoo.'

Fellow councillor Andrew Barrand added: 'Having helped support the fundraising for the zoo during the darkest days of lockdown, I was delighted to be able to visit the zoo and see for myself how the zoo has adapted to be able to once again welcome visitors.

'Everything is safe to welcome back young and old to this amazing facility, which is much more than just a zoo.

'I would urge everyone to support this much-loved local attraction, I know I will coming back soon with my grandchildren.'

You can find out how to make donations – and support your favourite animal – on the page opposite.

If you are planning any fund-raising activities we would love to hear about them and publish the details in the Torbay Weekly. Just email