A 21 YEAR-old from Kinver has received an early Christmas present by fulfilling his ambition of becoming a trainee keeper at Dudley Zoo.

Alex Randle has successfully completed an NVQ level 2 Diploma in Practical Animal Care while gaining hands-on experience working with ungulates and farm species at the Castle Hill attraction.

Curator, Matt Lewis, said: “Alex did very well and completed the qualification in 14 months.

“He is a keen member of staff who worked hard to get his position with us against tough competition.”

Alex said: "I'm really delighted. It's the best Christmas gift ever."