The 'Little Zoo with Lots to Do', Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, has raised funds for a lifesaving defibrillator which will be available for public use.

Staff, supporters and visitors to the popular destination based just outside Milnthorpe - including a committed group of motorcyclists - have joined forces to help make a difference within the community.

The fundraising venture kicked off in March, led by HSE Officer Leon Cooper and Business Manager Ruth Cooper, who are both passionate motorcyclists.

Alongside Zoo Managers Dan Eccles and LeaAnne Cooper, they began holding weekly Tuesday evening 'bikers’ nights'.

All donations received for refreshments, including seasonal treats from local businesses including Burrows Butchers in Silverdale, and Greenodd's Handmade Ice Cream Company, went towards combined conservation, community and zoo initiatives.

Now a life-saving defibrillator, bought from funds raised, will be unveiled on October 10 by a special guest and representatives from the North West Blood Bikes Lancs and Lakes Association, who volunteer to transport lifesaving clinical supplies across the UK.

“Thanks to our accessible location and facilities, we’ve always had people using the zoo as a meeting place and refreshment stop, like local bikers who regularly call in for weekend breakfasts,” said Ruth. “When we trialled extending it into safe, comfortable evening socials, it snowballed beyond all expectations.

“Everyone’s welcome, including non-bikers; it’s lovely to see locals, holidaymakers and regulars from as far away as Keswick, Workington and Chorley relaxing and chatting in the evening sun. This piece of vital community lifesaving equipment is wonderful proof of everyone’s generosity.”

Listed on the ambulance map, the defibrillator will be available to the public for emergency assistance, 24/7.

The unveiling of the equipment will mark the finale of the 2023 evening meet-up season.

A portion of remaining funds will be used this autumn in a special conservation project at the zoo.

“It’s still a closely-guarded secret,” said Ruth. “But it’s something we’ll be very excited to share with our fantastic supporters and visitors shortly. Like the defibrillator, it’s potentially lifesaving- this time for an endangered animal species- and very close to our hearts!”