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Children have been learning how to make didgeridoos out of drainpipes - and they’ve been producing quite a noise in the process!

The bizarre musical instruments were part of the programme at the Paignton Zoo Wild Weeks, which are fun summer holiday activity sessions for children aged 8 to 12.

So how do you make a drainpipe didg? It’s simple! Education officer Louise Coombes: “You simply dip one end of the pipe in beeswax to help make a better seal with your mouth when you play - then we decorate them with paint and recycled offcuts of vinyl.”

Apparently, 1.5 metre lengths of black plastic waste pipe are ideal – while 32mm (1 ¼“) diameter is just right for young mouths to blow down. Local civil engineering firm Devon Tarmasters SW Ltd stepped in to donate around £150-worth of pipe. Meanwhile, Gerry Stuart and Maureen Brown, of the Torbay branch of the Devon Beekeepers Association, have contributed the beeswax for the mouthpieces. Other items have come from the Ali-Way Community Recycling Enterprise, based at Hollacombe Community Resource Centre in Torquay.

The weeks were led by the Zoo’s education team, but it’s the Reserves Warden for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust – the charity which runs Paignton Zoo – who is the didgeridoo expert. Dave Ellacott taught himself the technique of circular breathing which is the key to the didgeridoo sound.

And how do the children’s didgeridoos sounds? It’s been described variously as rolling thunder, a droning aeroplane engine or a swarm of angry bees…

The Zoo’s Wild Week summer schools ran throughout August, giving young people the chance to explore the Zoo and its nature reserves, meet zoo keepers and take part in crafts, games and outdoor activities with a wildlife theme. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.

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