Dudley Zoo makes schoolgirl’s dreams come true

Dudley Zoo senior keeper Kirsty Thornton introduces Holly Foley to her adopted guinea pig Rapunzel

Dudley Zoo senior keeper Kirsty Thornton introduces Holly Foley to her adopted guinea pig Rapunzel

A seven-year-old Wordsley schoolgirl had all her wishes come true when she became a Princess for a Day at Dudley Zoo.

Holly Foley, who has sacral agenesis, received a royal tour of the site’s farmyard and a VIP meet and greet with the animals.

That served as the warm-up for a special surprise for Holly when the zoo’s CEO Peter Suddock presented her with an adoption package for guinea pig Rapunzel, aptly named after a Disney princess.

The youngster, who attends Ashwood Park Primary School, revealed her regal request to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, which organises wishes for children with serious or life-threatening illnesses.

After being contacted by the charity, Dudley Zoo staff pulled out all the stops to make sure Holly and her family had a day to remember.

Head of media and communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “Holly had a great day and came dressed regally for the occasion in a beautiful princess dress.

“She loved the chance to hold many of the site’s smaller animals, including Maisie the giant rabbit, Elton the chinchilla and Smokey the ferret and was over the moon to be presented with an adoption package for Rapunzel.”

During her visit Holly also toured the rest of the 40-acre site, stopping off to see baby Rothschild’s giraffe, Kito, snow leopard cub, Makalu and four newborn meerkat pups.

Holly said: “I loved meeting the animals especially Rapunzel, who was really friendly and cuddly and I can come back and see her now as I’ve adopted her.”

Holly’s mum, Julie-Ann Perks, said: “Holly had a fantastic day. She loves anything to do with princesses and is animal mad so the day was just perfect for her. She didn’t stop smiling the whole time.”