Bikers and Lancaster zoo join forces at heart of community lifesaving project
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Starting in March this year, HSE officer Leon Cooper and business manager Ruth Cooper, both keen motorcyclists, joined zoo managers Dan Eccles and LeaAnne Cooper in hosting regular Tuesday evening “bikers’ nights”.
Situated just off the A6, the zoo’s car park, cafe, conservatory and outdoor seating area together with Ruth’s culinary skills provided the perfect environment for local bikers to meet, socialise and refuel.
All donations received for refreshments including burgers, bacon buns, sandwiches, hot drinks, cold milkshakes, and seasonal treats from local businesses including Burrows Butchers in Silverdale and Greenodd’s Handmade Ice Cream Company, as well as zoo tours went towards combined conservation, community and zoo initiatives.
Now a potentially lifesaving defibrillator, bought from the funds raised, will be unveiled in a special end-of-season meet on Tuesday October 10.
Listed on the ambulance map, it will be available to the public for emergency assistance 24/7.
“Thanks to our accessible location and facilities, we’ve always had people using the zoo as a meeting place and refreshment stop, like local bikers who regularly call in for weekend breakfasts,” said Ruth. “When we trialled extending it into safe, comfortable evening socials, it snowballed beyond all expectations.
“Everyone’s welcome, including non-bikers; it’s lovely to see locals, holidaymakers and regulars from as far away as Keswick, Workington and Chorley relaxing and chatting in the evening sun. This piece of vital community lifesaving equipment is wonderful proof of everyone’s generosity.”
The defibrillator will be unveiled by a special guest and representatives from the North West Blood Bikes Lancs and Lakes Association, who volunteer to transport lifesaving clinical supplies across the UK.
Conceding to the darkening nights, it will mark the finale of the 2023 evening meetup season. With plans already in place to resume in 2024, a portion of remaining funds will be employed this autumn in a very special conservation project at the zoo.
“It’s still a closely-guarded secret,” said Ruth, “but it’s something we’ll be very excited to share with our fantastic supporters and visitors shortly. Like the defibrillator, it’s potentially lifesaving - this time for an endangered animal species - and very close to our hearts!”