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Eight-year-old Jemima cycles 100kms to help her favourite zoo reopen

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 May 2020

Eight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with her dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Eight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with her dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norfolk animal lover Jemima Howe took on the physical challenge of her little life after hearing Banham Zoo was in trouble.

Eight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive with her dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive with her dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jemima Howe, a big fan of Banham Zoo, was worried when she heard it and Africa Alive! in Suffolk had lost money because of being closed in lockdown.

So, despite never doing anything like this before, she came up with the idea of a bike ride and enlisted dad Ed to ride with her.

The pair cycled 20kms every day this week, with 7am starts.

They set a target on the JustGiving site of raising £500 and have more than doubled it with people still donating.

Eight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Jemima and her dad have now completed the bike ride which started on Monday. Mr Howe said he planned the route daily but was astonished Jemima, who’d never done any long bike rides before, managed to keep up with the long distances.

“She’s only got little legs, she’s got a new bike but we’re not serious cyclists, we are just a family who like to go out on our bikes.

“Jemima loves animals, and we’ve always gone to Banham Zoo and when she heard they were having difficulties she came up with the idea to do something to raise money.

Eight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEight-year-old Jemima Howe who has cycled to raise money for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! with dad Ed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We’re so proud of her. Some of the roads have been uphill and some have been busy. We had a tricky ride where, after 12.5km, she had a bit of a wobble but we got through it. There was another time when she nearly got knocked off her bike. We’ve tried to stick to very quiet country lanes, cycling through villages.”

Jemima herself said: “I cycled 100kms with daddy because I don’t want Banham Zoo to close.”

Apparently she loves all animals but really likes the monkeys at the zoo. Claudia Roberts, managing director, commercial, Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support shown for Banham Zoo and Africa Live! It is heartening to see how connected our communities feel. We are incredibly impressed by the 100kms Jemima has cycled and her fundraising efforts are very much appreciated as it will help our team of dedicated animal keepers continue their vital care for our animals”.

Jemima Howe. Pic: submittedJemima Howe. Pic: submitted

The zoos announced earlier this week they were to cut a third of its workforce, nearly 70 jobs, because of losing £1.5m since lockdown.

Jemima has so far raised £1,205 from 79 supporters. To donate more click here

For more updates on coronavirus in Norfolk see the Facebook page here

The sign Jemima made worn by dad Ed during the bike rides. Pic: DENISE BRADLEYThe sign Jemima made worn by dad Ed during the bike rides. Pic: DENISE BRADLEY


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