A dark wet Saturday morning loomed large as the ACORN team were setting up for the annual ACORN Petting Zoo. As usual there was a clamour by various Petting Zoos, Charities and good causes to utilise the lifts in Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre to access the main hall.

The Petting Zoo turned out to be a great family day, commencing with the grand opening by Mr Ron Hogg, County Durham Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner. Ron has been a regular visitor to the group’s meetings, and we thank him for his support.

I would like to thank our friends at the Women’s Institute for providing tasty food and hot drinks at great prices to feed the hungry hordes, well done ladies the corned beef and potato pie was particularly scrumptious.

Farmyard Flyer, Animal Story and Crazy Creatures Petting Zoo’s entertained everyone with creatures domestic and exotic which enthralled visitors. Animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, giant hissing cockroaches’, frogs and snakes were petted and cuddled by visitors young and old alike. Meanwhile for those who were nervous of the creatures Professor Nincompoop was heavily engaged in making balloon models for the young and not so young.

WeCan were busy applying glitter tattoos, Harry Potty was kept more than busy with face painting and such was the demand that the poor guy was still going when everyone else was leaving.

British Red Cross, Play Café, Marie Curie Cancer Care, ARMMS, Woof Cuts, Junction7, Darlington Hedgehog Society, Children’s Blessings, David Sutton Lloyd Defibrillator Project, Youth Council Cake Stall raising funds for a defibrillator, Scranimals and Ark on The Edge were all in attendance along with many others running Tombola’s and other fundraising activities for their own organisations.

All Weather Flying Disc Dogs were in the centre of the hall entertaining those who attended with their highly trained antics this new sport just becoming popular in the UK teaches dogs discipline and tricks using a flying plastic disc. Anyone who wishes to teach their pooch discipline whilst having fun can contact Sonia on 07999 304078 or can find her on facebook under All Weather Flying Disc Dogs.

Children’s favourites Jet and Ben were there to meet the public and as usual behaved impeccably. A special thank you to Farmyard Flyer for bringing their German Shepherd to promote Blood Donor Dogs. A project that not many people have heard about.

Of course, the event couldn’t be as successful as it is year on year without the dedication of our ACORN volunteers; Keith Lovejoy, Betty Tharby, Alison Paling, Jen Bewley, Ray and Carol Gordon, Marie Moses, Joan Wheatley, Jillian Hillary, Arun Chandran, Ken and Elaine Robson and of course Joyce Woods.

We would also like to thank John Hannah for donating a kitchenware package which was raffled to raise money to buy plants for ACORN’s community plant tub project. Once the plants are bought, we can look forward to a summer of fabulous floral displays in and around the neighbourhoods.

Finally a big thank you to the Leisure Centre staff for their help and assistance on the day.

Ken Robson, Chairman

ACORN Residents Assoc.

01325 321471