DUDLEY Zoo’s head of media and communications has scooped a prestigious national award for the attraction’s quarterly magazine.

Jill Hitchman received the Plain English Award for ZooNooz, which covers stories and images of the animal collection, staff activities and historic buildings within the 40-acre zoological gardens.

Former journalist Jill, who edits and designs the full-colour 28- pager, said: “The judges were impressed with the informative style and clear layout of ZooNooz and we beat off tough competition from hundreds of entries across the country to take the award.

“The magazine started off as a humble four-pager and has grown in size and readership over 15 years.

“It is now read by DZG members and supporters across the globe, including schoolchildren in Canada, ex-pats in Australia, Army wives in Germany and MPs in the House of Commons.”

The award brings double success for Jill, who gained a Plain English Crystal Award for DZG’s annual review in 2004.

She said: “It’s an honour to receive one award but to have two is incredibly rare, particularly across both public and private sectors and I am absolutely delighted.”

Plain English Award spokeswoman, Jennie Eley, said: “We had a lot of good entries this year but we felt Jill’s stood out above the rest.

“ZooNooz is a bright, lively and informative magazine with wide appeal.

“It is the sort of publication that, once started, you can’t put down because it is full of entertaining and fascinating facts.

“It is an excellent example of how language, tone and design can combine to educate and inform in an entertaining and accessible way.