Friday 8th of April brought the excitement of the 4th annual Little ACORNS Petting Zoo to Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.
Graciously opened at 10am by Mayor Mary Dalton and consort Michael Dalton, the doorways were swiftly filled with excited children accompanied by parents and grandparents eagerly seeking out the cuddly and exotic creatures.
With a hall full of attractions, it was difficult to know where to head first, Crazy Critters, Animal story supplied bugs, snakes, spiders, prairie dogs, tortoises, rabbits, rats and loads of other creatures for the children to gawk at and pet.Adding to the fun the Leisure Centre had kindly supplied a bouncy castle which was swiftly filled with laughing, raucous kids burning off energy.
Top quality local entertainers were on hand to add to the frolics with Harry Potty providing the face painting to a queue of clients that lasted the length of the event and beyond, transforming little faces into fairies, pussy cats, and a myriad of other designs.
Meanwhile Professor Nincompoop delighted children and adults by providing balloon sculptures of swords, flowers, animals and hats.
Newcomers to the community entertainment scene Dot and Zooky enthralled children and parents with circus tricks, spinning tea plates and juggling diablos. This may have been the first time Dot and Zooky have worked with us but it certainly won’t be the last.
ACORNS very own Sarah Picken and daughter Ellie, Secretary of little ACORNS were kept busy painting nails with lovely designs and exuberant colours. Spotty Dog and Sid the Squirrel appeared for photos with the kids and parents.
Newton Aycliffe neigh-bourhood Police beat team were as usual to be found building relationships with locals in a fun and friendly environment. Many other local organisations were also represented including local dog trainers K9 Pursuits giving demonstrations of good dog behaviour.
Dorothy Bowman from Western Area Community House had a stall representing Williamfield Residents Association, the community bus, her Dementia Group and New Friends New places.
Other groups had stalls representing organisations such as Horndale Residents Association who had a tombola stall, Busy Bees had a jewellery stall, Maggie’s Silent Tear house, Katy’s got It Covered, Ark on the Edge, Dog’s Trust, The Durham Alcohol Self Support Group, A body shop at home stall and Love Thy Cupcakes.
Jillians Cakes supplied a beautiful chocolate cake for a raffle which tasted absolutely wonderful. Specialist health trainer Andy Stewart from Wellbeing for Life, based in the South West Durham Hub unit, Health improvement service was on hand to promote healthy lifestyles. Mike Greener attended on behalf of DISC a great organisation based at the Blue Bridge Centre.
Of course this magical event would not be possible without the financial support of the Big Lottery Fund “Awards for All” which has supported the ACORN group from its inception.
A great big thank you to vice chairman Keith Lovejoy for organising this very popular event with the support of many of our members.
Ken Robson
ACORN Residents Association

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