VISITORS to Dudley Zoo will once again be able to go up, up and away as the iconic chairlift is launched today (Friday).

The 1958 chairlift transports visitors on a two-minute journey from the zoo entrance up to the castle and has been restored thanks to a £117,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

It is set to be officially opened at 11am on Friday by BBC Radio WM presenter and Dudley girl Jenny Wilkes.

For the past two months contractors have restored all 42 chairs and have painstakingly peeled back the layers of paint to discover the original colouring, with the chairlift painted to the exact same colour as it was in the 1950s.

Jill Hitchman, head of media and communications at the zoo, said: “We are delighted Jenny has agreed to launch the chairlift. Jenny’s connections with Dudley Zoo go back to her Dudley Girls’ High schooldays when she worked as a seasonal on site during the summer holidays.

“She has always kept in touch with our latest projects and progress. So come along on Friday morning to see Jenny head for the skies on the country’s only vintage chairlift.”