Our grrreat new gate!

A striking new gate featuring DZG’s distinctive tiger logo is creating an imposing impression as visitors enter our award-winning attraction.

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ABOVE: Paul Webb and Wayne Lewis from our site security team open up the impressive new gate

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The stunning steel gate has just been put into place and is surrounded by some fabulous bespoke fencing made to look like swaying grass.

The green fencing, which took two months to complete, even features a selection of colourful creatures including steel mice, frogs, dragonflies and lizards.

The work, completed by Total Services Ltd from Cradley Heath, is the first stage of the impressive new entrance which will eventually include life-size steel models of a giraffe, an orang utan, a tiger, a sea lion and a crocodile.

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The handcrafted sculptures, created by artist Tim Roper from Bridgnorth, are due be installed at the end of this month and will lead people into the zoo from the improved car park.

RIGHT – An artist’s impression of how the 15ft giraffe sculpture will look.

Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “The new gate makes an excellent first impression as people enter the zoo from the car park and will better reflect our professional organisation.

“We are delighted with the fence and the gate looks incredible now the tiger’s orange eyes have been added.”

The car park improvements and sculpture project are being jointly funded by DZG, Dudley Council, the European Regional Development Fund and a Local Enterprise Partnership.

A FAMILY TRADITION

webnewgateThe boss of the firm which made the tiger entrance gate and grass-style fencing David Wilkes (pictured right) has followed a family tradition – and left his mark at DZG!

His dad Sidney Wilkes, now 72 from Wolverhampton, made the carrying wheel for the zoo’s vintage chairlift when he worked for former engineering firm Grazebrooks in 1957.

But before the wheel was hoisted into place, Sidney had secretly welded his name on the inside for prosperity’s sake.

And following in his father’s footsteps, David – the owner of the wrought iron specialist firm Total Services Ltd – has welded the initials of his grandchildren on three of the dragonflies featured on the fencing.

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David, pictured left with his son Andrew who also works in for the business, welded HW for Harvey Wilkes, SAV for Savannah Wilkes and HF for Haden Fletcher.

Employee Stuart Mallen, who also worked on the fencing, welded his children’s initials and the 2015 date of completion on there too.

Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “This is a lovely story and the personalised welding adds character to the construction.

“It is wonderful the Wilkes family has this close connection with the zoo, which they have visited with their families over several decades.”

The chairlift – the only one of its kind in the country – was officially opened to DZG’s visitors on May 11, 1958 by comedian Richard Hearne, who played the madcap children’s TV character Mr Pastry.

One of the first passengers was Dudley schoolboy John Price, pictured below enjoying the ride.

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Early passengers paid sixpence for their journey, but today’s travellers can use the facility for free when they visit the 40-acre Castle Hill attraction.