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Sittingbourne squaddie raises over 10k for Colchester Zoo

A Parachute Regiment from Sittingbourne has begun a fundraiser in hopes to raise money for Colchester Zoo who had to close its doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic in late March.

Due to this, the zoo could potentially run out of funds by September if this current situation persists which could result in permanent closure.

Shaun Bolding, 41, chose to do a half marathon with nine of his team members. Setting out the challenge of running the straight line distance of 603 miles which is the equivalent of running from Lands End to John O’ Groats and they succeeded in 5 days as a collective group.


The first target set was £500 which was reached before they even set off running, because of this they increased the amount to £10,000 and by Friday last week, they reached over £8,000.

Mr Bolding said: ”Each runner would have to complete just over a half marathon every day for the 5 days. 5 of the team living around Colchester even got the chance to complete their last run on Friday in the zoo itself.”

With smashing the target of £10,000 Shaun and the group have taken it upon themselves to complete a full marathon tomorrow a total of 26.2 miles.

”We’re nearly at £10,500, because of this we each have to run a full marathon on Friday. I will be running mine around Sittingbourne and local villages, no doubt will head into Borden and Bredgar.”

The 9 runners taking part

Colchester Zoo states on their website: ”The daily running cost of the zoo is £25,475 plus any other veterinary care bills or unexpected expenses.”

Many like Colchester are seeing the huge impact on finance. Not being able to have a sustainable income coming in from ticket sales, annual memberships, gift shops, canteens and donations results in them now having to make decisions as to whether they can even come back once this is over.

Mr Bolding said: ”We heard the news that Colchester Zoo was struggling since being forced to close it’s doors to the public and could run out of money in around September. I work there in the week but have been working from home for three weeks due to this. Obviously a lot of my friend’s families live in Colchester and the Zoo is a massive part of their lives.

”We’re hoping the money raised will help keep a few more staff on to care for the animals.”

Donate to Run For The Zoo’s page here.