Poorly Wordsley schoolgirl gets royal treatment at Dudley Zoo

Senior keeper, Kirsty Thornton, introduces Holly Foley to her adopted guinea pig, Rapunzel.

Senior keeper, Kirsty Thornton, introduces Holly Foley to her adopted guinea pig, Rapunzel.

First published in Local

A POORLY Wordsley schoolgirl experienced what it was like to be a princess for the day during a visit to Dudley Zoo.

Holly Foley, aged seven, has sacral agenesis, which means the bottom part of her spine is missing and she has limited movement in the lower body.

The youngster, who attends Ashwood Park Primary School, made the regal request to visit the zoo when Rays of Sunshine, a charity that grants wishes for children with serious or life-threatening illnesses, asked her what she had always dreamed of.

After being contacted by the charity, zoo staff pulled out all the stops to make sure Holly and her family had a day to remember.

She received a royal tour of the zoo's farmyard and had a meet and greet with the animals, before she was surprised with an adoption package for guinea pig, Rapunzel, aptly named after a Disney princess.

The zoo's head of media and communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “Holly had a great day and came dressed regally for the occasion in a beautiful princess dress.

“She loved the chance to hold many of the site’s smaller animals, including Maisie the giant rabbit, Elton the chinchilla and Smokey the ferret and was over the moon to be presented with an adoption package for Rapunzel.”

During her visit Holly also stopped off to see baby giraffe, Kito, snow leopard cub, Makalu and four newborn meerkat pups.

Holly said: “I loved meeting the animals especially Rapunzel, who was really friendly and cuddly and I can come back and see her now as I’ve adopted her.”

Her mum, Julie-Ann Perks, added: “Holly had a fantastic day. She loves anything to do with princesses and is animal mad so the day was just perfect for her. She didn’t stop smiling the whole time.”

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