Ava, 4, helps feed the animals at Axe Valley Wildlife Park

PUBLISHED: 09:45 06 June 2020

Ava with her collection of fruit and veg for the animals at Axe Valley Wildlife Park

Ava with her collection of fruit and veg for the animals at Axe Valley Wildlife Park

Archant

A caring four-year-old girl has inspired an East Devon village to help feed the animals at Axe Valley Wildlife Park during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ava Doidge outside the wildlife park with the drawing she created for owners Jayne and Andrew Collier.Ava Doidge outside the wildlife park with the drawing she created for owners Jayne and Andrew Collier.

Due to the pandemic the zoo, near Axminster, has been closed with no income from visitors to buy food for its many residents.

Hollie Doidge, of Dunkeswell, showed her daughter Ava pictures of the animals on the park’s social media page and explained that they were struggling to feed them due to the virus.

Said Hollie: “As parents we like to install kindness and thoughtfulness into our daughter’s upbringing, so we asked Ava if she’d like to suggest some ideas that we as a family could do to help the park.

“Ava suggested that she would draw a special picture for Jayne and Andrew Collier (the owners of the park) which she completed with great pride.

Ava delivers food to Axe Valley Wildlife Park.Ava delivers food to Axe Valley Wildlife Park.

“She also suggested we gather fruit and veg from our home and grandad’s allotment to take down to donate.

“We thought these ideas were lovely. However, instead of stopping at just a bag of fruit and veg from just our family, we decided to reach out to the rest of the community in Dunkeswell asking on social media if villagers would like to donate any fruit and veg.

“Abiding by all social distancing and safe practice Ava and I spent the morning driving around the village collecting donations from people’s doorsteps. Some residents even left donations on our doorstep.

“I kept looking at Ava and she didn’t stop smiling the whole time - she was so proud to be a part of helping the animals it was fantastic.”

The family was so overwhelmed by the villagers’ support they carried out a second donation drive and had another incredible response. They also collected from nearby Blackborough.

Hollie added: “Jayne Collier sent a big thankyou and some beautiful photos of Ava’s favourite animals like the zebras, monkeys and giant tortoise enjoying the food we donated which made her day.

“Jayne also said she was going to laminate and put Ava’s drawing up in the coffee shop when they reopen to the public.

“My husband and I are so proud of Ava and want to personally say a heartfelt thankyou to the incredible residents of Dunkeswell and Blackborough for their generosity.

“Ava wants to try and continue a weekly fruit and veg donation drop off to the wildlife park and for as long as we have the support from the village we will continue.”


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