1. ITV Report

Farewell to Blackpool Zookeeper after 40 years

Peter hand rearing a chimp Photo: Blackpool Zoo

A Blackpool Zookeeper is finally retiring after four decades caring for animals.

Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, embarked on his dream career on his 16th birthday starting in the bird section of Chessington Zoo on 14th May 1973. He joined Blackpool at the age of 32 and will retire on on Friday 29th September 2017.

Peter’s job has seen him work with an amazing array of species from polar bears to giant pandas and gorillas to giraffes!

Peter in 2013 with a penguin

“I knew I wanted to be a zoo keeper from a very young age and loved nothing more than to spend all my free time playing with my Britain’s zoo animal collection.

“Looking back over the past 44 years I feel extremely privileged to have been part of such an amazing profession. I know that I am leaving Blackpool in the excellent hands of our group of highly dedicated keepers.

“I am due to become a grandfather for the second time in November, so I will be spending plenty of time with my grandchildren and I have a few trips planned….mainly to zoos across the UK and beyond!”

– Peter Dillingham
Peter bathing and elephant in 2008

“The time has come to bid a fond farewell to one of the finest keepers I have ever met.

“His commitment and knowledge are second to none and his practical, level-headed approach to his job is exemplary.

“He is not only a valued employee but a great friend to many, including myself, and I am sure even his somewhat dry sense of humour will be missed by all!

“We wish him all the best for his retirement and look forward to welcoming him back as a visitor!”

– Darren Webster, Managing Director