Volunteers have clocked up a thousand days of help during 2012.

People who gave their time to Paignton Zoo Environmental Park and Living Coasts helped raise over £72,000 and gave more than 24,000 hours - equivalent to 2.75 years, 143 weeks or over 1,000 full days.

For the year ending in October 2012 volunteers gave 24,142 hours - 2,677 more than in 2011. Volunteer Coordinator Neil Thomas-Childs is hugely impressed by these figures:

“It was a terrific year - volunteers have continued to support us in all weathers. By the middle of the season we thought that our total hours were going to be down on the previous year because of the rain - but the volunteers have shown how committed they are to the organisation!”

Neil has nothing but praise for the volunteers at both Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts. “Our volunteers are a truly amazing bunch of people, fully-committed to their roles. For many people the main reason for volunteering with us is to support the work we do with animals, plants and habitats. But volunteers also love the social aspect and enjoy meeting like-minded people and passing on their passion for the zoos to our visitors, for whom they are often the main point of contact. As an ex-volunteer myself at both sites I can definitely say that this is why I enjoyed my volunteering.”

Simon Tonge, Executive Director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts, as well as Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, said: “Their support is much appreciated by the staff and trustees – we could not achieve as much as we do without our volunteers. I’d like to say congratulations and well done to them all.”

The volunteers had little chance to put their feet up before Christmas. At Paignton Zoo they supported the Santa’s Traditional Christmas event with a total of 50 people volunteering in 18 different roles each day. 333 hours were put in by volunteers just in preparing for the event. Volunteers also supported the Santa’s Zoo event at Living Coasts.

Volunteer opportunities at both zoos for the coming year will be advertised on the Paignton Zoo volunteer webpage at http://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer or the Living Coasts volunteer webpage at http://www.livingcoasts.org.uk/involved/163 in early 2013. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.

Quotes So much to see, beautifully laid out and loads of interesting information on all the animals. Quotes