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Local radio hams are to transmit from the grounds of Paignton Zoo for the very first time to mark the charity’s 90th birthday.

The Riviera Amateur Radio Club will operate a one-day radio station on Easter Saturday 30th March. A special call-sign has been registered - GB4ZOO.

Members of the Club will be in the grounds of the Zoo between 10.00am and 4.00pm. The aim is to link countries where the charity has conservation projects, including the UK, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and South Africa.

Paignton Zoo first opened to the public in 1923 - it’s thought to have been at Easter. Today it is a registered charity with education, research and conservation at its heart. It supports work with species and habitats in different countries across Africa and South East Asia. The Zoo welcomes 450,000 visitors a year.

To mark its birthday, Paignton Zoo is running The Great Gorillas Project. A host of life-size model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Torbay and Exeter.

Riviera Amateur Radio Club Secretary Alan Wyatt said: “We are delighted to mark Paignton Zoo's 90th birthday with a special event station and raise awareness of the Zoo's achievements in wildlife conservation. Radio hams who contact the GB4ZOO station on air will be sent a special commemorative post-card featuring two of Paignton's lowland gorillas.

“We welcome people who want to come and see the radio station and are happy to give them an insight into the hobby of amateur radio, which is enjoyed worldwide by people young and old. We can even allow visitors to send a short 'greeting' message under supervision. It's usually youngsters who are keen to try!”

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

Riviera Amateur Radio Club http://www.rivieraarc.org.uk/.

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