Children’s author teams up with Harlow Paralympian Richard Chiassaro to raise funds for UK zoos

Children’s Author Teams up with Sport Champions to Raise Funds for UK Zoos

A HARLOW Paralympian has joined forces with a children’s author to raise funds for UK zoos, including Colchester Zoo. Richard Chiassaro, who represented Team GB in the 2016 Paralympics has partnered with Josie Dom, author of popular children’s picture books Lum and Lum’s Mum.

Josie’s latest project is a poem on the animal kingdom Olympics (Animalympics) where animals compete instead of humans. “What a privilege to be asked to read this poem to help raise money for zoos,” says Chiassaro, “it’s great to have some positive vibes for an unusual time in the world.”

The poem, which was inspired during lockdown when Josie’s daughter claimed sloths were good swimmers, soon got the creative juices flowing. “I soon got plotting with my family which animals would be great at the particular Olympic sports,” says Dom. “The result: an epic poem with buffalo playing football, orangutans playing tennis and Woodpecker Will organising the whole thing.”

Fronting the intiative with Dom and Chiassaro are ex-Olympians from Team GB, including David Hemery CBE (Olympics Gold 1968), Wendy Smith (Paralympics 2004) and Jo Mersh (Olympics 2004) as well as current BMX World Champion Freia Challis and Fencing Vice-World Champion Marcus Mepstead.

The fundraising campaign sees athletes reading their sport’s verse from Josie’s Animalympics poem, in exchange for a donation to Josie’s GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/animalympics-helps-zoos), donors will receive via email a daily video covering the Animalympics in place of the expected Olympics coverage.

Donors have the opportunity to nominate their favourite zoo and all money raised will go to the zoos themselves to use to meet their daily operating costs.

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