Paignton Zoo volunteer Richard Baber has been recognised for his exceptional contribution to the charity.

He was presented with a certificate during an event hosted by Torbay Council. The Civic Awards ceremony was held to celebrate the unsung heroes of Torbay as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It was followed by lunch at the Riviera International Conference Centre.

Richard has been a Zoo volunteer for 7 years and has been helping with environmental enrichment for 6. In that time he has become skilled in making toys for animals out of old fire hose donated by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.

He was nominated by Paignton Zoo Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Robey. She said: “I nominated Richard for his effort, commitment and dedication to volunteering. He can make a remarkable range of animal enrichment devices. He has designed and built hammocks for baboons, footballs for elephants and piñatas for monkeys. The hose is not easy to work with and devices need to be strong enough to withstand gorillas and elephants!”

Richard designs his creations at home. Some have to be drilled and then held together with nuts and bolts. A retired farmer, Richard lives in Preston, Paignton. He has also helped make 850 bird boxes to encourage young people to appreciate garden birds. On top of that he supports the Zoo’s free bird show every Thursday.

He said: “It is a great honour. I feel I am representing the Zoo. I worked with domestic animals for many years, so it was a natural progression to come to Paignton Zoo and help enrich the lives of wild animals.”

Quotes An awesome experience. The amount of free space given to the animals was very impressive Quotes