Tag Archives: Charity Events

Chestnut Tree House Visits Sussex Zoo

27 Sep

A group of young people from Chestnut Tree House have enjoyed a complimentary day out at award-winning Drusillas Park. The visit took place on Saturday as part of the charity’s Fun and Friendship Youth Group outings.

Chestnut Tree House is the only hospice for children in Sussex and Drusillas Park’s Charity of the Year. Families are never charged for their care and the charity receives little government funding, so relies almost entirely on the help and support of the community to raise the £2.5 million required to provide its services.

During their visit, the group encountered a host of furry and feathered creatures along the zoo route including the resident meerkats, penguins and lemurs. They also enjoyed some close animal encounters in the new walk through aviary, Lory Landing.

Activity and Buddy Co-ordinator, Trisha Cullingford commented: “Our young people have varied disabilities and complex needs and the sight, sound and smell experience of Drusillas was an excellent activity for them.”

“We spent time looking and interacting with the animals and some of our young people went on the train. A couple fed the parrots and one said ‘that was the best thing ever’. Another member of our group sat for ages captivated by a lemur eating and feeding.”

“We were looked after very well, nothing was too much trouble for the staff; they were really friendly and helpful.”


Zoo Keepers Saddle Up for Charity Bike Ride

18 Aug

Three zoo keepers from Drusillas Park have raised nearly £1000 after completing a sponsored bike ride for Chestnut Tree House and the EAZA Ape Campaign.

Jodie Dryden, Claudia Caballero-Pope and Helena Faunch completed the 50 mile route on Sunday 14th August, starting from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent before returning to the award-winning zoo in East Sussex.

All inexperienced riders, the energetic trio have trained hard over the past few months in order to rise to the challenge.  Wearing bespoke t-shirts they set off from Hythe at 9am, travelling west along the A259 through Rye, Hastings and Bexhill before meeting up with the A27 to Alfriston.

Claudia commented: “The journey started off really well with us getting lost on some country roads and having to ask a horse rider for directions within the first 10 miles!”

“There was lots of laughing and joking for 20 to 25 miles or so which soon died out as it got more challenging and we were getting tired. The wind was really strong along Rye and Hastings which also didn’t help. We ended on a high though with everyone from Drusillas waiting to wave us in as we arrived back 8 hours later.”

Jodie added: “The main thing that kept us going was knowing how much sponsorship money we had been pledged and how much the charities would benefit. We’d like to say thank you to everyone who sponsored us and made the day happen.”

The money will be split equally between the two chosen charities. Chestnut Tree House is Drusillas Park’s charity of the year and the only hospice for children in Sussex. Families are never charged for their care and the charity receives little government funding, so relies almost entirely on the help and support of the community.

The remaining half of the money will be donated to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to contribute to their Ape Campaign. This seeks to make a lasting difference to the survival of apes and their habitats in the wild. 

Janet Parsons, Head of Communications at Chestnut Tree House commented: “We are delighted to be Drusillas’ charity of the year.  We would like to say a huge thank you to the girls from everyone at Chestnut Tree House for supporting us in this way.”

Drusillas Staff Have A Night to Remember

3 Jun

A team of staff from Drusillas Park, had A Night to Remember when they took to the streets of Eastbourne to raise money for Chestnut Tree House, the only children’s hospice in Sussex.

The fourteen ladies were amongst over 600 participants that followed a 10 mile route under the stars, starting from Eastbourne’s Sovereign Centre at midnight.  

The Drusillas Park team raised in excess of £2,800 with a further £110 in donations taken by the zoo’s face painters, who volunteered their services at the event. This contributed to the total of over £75,000 pledged by the participants on the night, beating the £57,000 raised by the first midnight walk in 2010.

Chestnut Tree House offers a home-from-home environment for the children and their families and costs over the £2.5 million per year to run. Families are never charged for their care and the hospice receives little government funding, so it relies almost entirely on the help and support of the people of Sussex.


Dressed as various animals and donning the exclusive Night to Remember purple t-shirt, the zoo team took their position at the start line after a rousing speech by Mayor of Eastbourne, Carolyn Heaps. On their return, each of the walkers received a medal and a well-earned breakfast.

Claire Peters, Head of Public Relations at Drusillas Park commented: “Chestnut Tree House is our Charity of the Year and we are delighted to have been able to support the event and raise so much money. All our walkers had a fantastic time – it really was A Night to Remember!”

Jo Carden, Events and Fundraising Officer for Chestnut Tree House added:  ‘We had high hopes that this year’s event would be even bigger and better but we had no idea that our ladies would do such a fantastic job and not only beat what we raised last year, but completely smash the total!”

“The money we raised on the night will allow us to provide 38 families with a three night stay at the house, allowing them to have a break and recharge their batteries.”