A resident at a West Sussex care home was treated to a wish come true with the ‘most lovely and enjoyable’ wildlife safari.
Stella Collister made the 160-mile round trip to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire after telling staff at Colten Care’s Wellington Grange in Chichester that she had always wanted to experience exotic animals up close.
Accompanied by four fellow residents, Stella took a drive-through tour of the world-famous attraction with the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of monkeys, giraffes, zebras, ostriches and many other park residents.
“It was not your average Tuesday morning,” said Heather Pearce, Companionship Team leader. “We planned it after a conversation with residents in which Stella said she had never been on a safari and would love to go on one.
“We knew it wouldn’t quite be Africa, but at least we could get to Longleat and back in a day.
“After the safari drive and a picnic lunch prepared by our fantastic catering colleagues, we were all ready for a little walk around and the chance to see even more animals.
“Elizabeth, one of our residents from New Zealand, was very excited about visiting the Koala Creek exhibition area and seeing the koalas. They are new to Longleat and it is currently the only safari park in England that has them.
“We saw lots of other animals such as parrots, anteaters, otters and porcupine. We ended the day on a boat trip to feed the seals and see the gorillas. We even got to see Spot the hippo who doesn’t always make an appearance on the river cruise.”
Stella said: “It was the most lovely day out. I really enjoyed observing all the animals. I found the giraffes especially interesting to view.”
Heather added: “I was so pleased to be able to grant Stella her wish to go on safari. It would have been nice to pop down to Africa but this was the next best thing. It was a lovely experience to share with Stella and the other residents who came with us.”