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Drusillas volunteer honoured as ‘hero’ in international award

PUBLISHED 01/09/2022

A volunteer from Drusillas Park has been honoured for their outstanding contribution in a special new award. The ‘Zoo and Aquarium Hero’ award has been conferred to a select few individuals who have made a special contribution to zoos and aquariums.

Martin Bayliss has made an incredible difference to Drusillas for four years, and has consistently been one of the Park’s best and most reliable volunteers.  From very early on in his ‘Drusillas career’ he was excellent in the role, supervising the zoo’s walkthrough enclosures, adding humour and personality to the role. Martin has helped the Park with careers fairs at local schools, promoting its conservation messages, but his greatest solo contribution has been in helping to preserve a vintage bus that had been on the Drusillas site since 1981. 

The future of the bus, originally built in 1965, was uncertain and Drusillas education officers spoke to Martin, due to his history working for London Transport. Martin conducted private research on the history of the bus and tracked down enthusiasts who were able to rehome the bus to ensure that it lived on at the West of England Transport Collection in Devon.

Ollie Smith, Managing Director said: “Martin is a great credit to Drusillas and the volunteer community. Every interaction - whether it be with colleagues or visitors - is warm, friendly, and personable which is why is held in such high regard here at the Park. Martin is a real inspiration to each and everyone of us and we are so proud of his latest achievement! Congratulations Martin from everyone at Drusillas!”

In this round of awardees, Martin received the award along with just 13 other volunteers across the UK and Ireland. They join existing Heroes, including fundraisers who supported zoos over the pandemic and TV stars Aaron, Tyler and Cam Whitnall – hosts of CBBC’s One Zoo three.

Dr Jo Judge, CEO of BIAZA said: “We were blown away by the dedication and innovative work of our winning Zoo and Aquarium Heroes. These volunteers are giving up their time to help the zoo communities’ mission in protecting nature and creating a better world. Whether that is consistently caring for some of the world’s most wonderful animals or sharing their passion for nature on social media.”

“The natural world is in crisis. It is a world that needs heroes more than ever before. We are so pleased to celebrate their achievements today.”

It is hoped the Zoo and Aquarium Heroes will continue to share their passion of the animal world and keep inspiring others to make a difference.

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