Swindon Lions organise happy zoo day out for Ukrainian guests

By Barrie Hudson - 17 June 2024


With the sun shining and picnics packed a group of 40 Ukrainian visitors to Swindon climbed aboard a coach bound for Marwell Zoo.

The trip was organised and paid for by Swindon Lions and the local Lions district. Each year the Lions arrange a fun event  when families from local communities can just relax and enjoy themselves.
A dozen or more coach loads were taken to the zoo, where they were greeted by members of various Lion clubs who directed the majority to the nearest attraction - the penguins. 
Cameras immediately appeared, trying to catch the moment when their rather uncomfortable looking staggering on land was replaced by their graceful movement underwater.
A short uphill walk brought the group to the giraffes - who were clearly far more interested in locating their late morning food than posing for photographs.
The Swindon group made their way to Marwell Hall where they were met by Leo the Lion and friend for a group photo, with the Ukrainian flag proudly displayed.
Lion Mike Bowden, who somehow managed to bring home the same number as left Swindon said: “It was such a lovely day out. The weather was perfect and it was just great to see so many happy smiling faces enjoying a relaxing few hours wandering around a beautifully presented and modern zoo.”
Liza, one of the many Ukrainian children on the trip, said: “My favourite animals were definitely the tiger and red panda. The tiger looked scary but I wanted to take the panda home with me.”
The many children - and some adults - thoroughly enjoyed showing their artistic abilities; colouring little circles of wood to make medallions. Unsurprisingly the felt pens in Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow were in great demand.
Liza’s mum spoke for all, saying: “Sincere thanks to the organisers of the wonderful trip. The children were delighted with the interesting and rare species of animals they saw.”

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