A volunteer at London Zoo is running a half-marathon to raise funds for the Regent's Park attraction which has been crippled by Covid closures.

Hackney resident Elaine Clarke has had strong ties with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for more than ten years - first as part of their education team and now as an engagement volunteer.

The 51-year-old explained how her love for nature and wildlife has stayed with her since childhood and she was delighted to support the conservation charity through the most difficult time in its nearly 200 year history.

“COVID-19 has resulted in all sorts of financial pressures for ZSL and the opportunity to raise critical funds for the global conservation and care of animals is something I feel privileged to be part of," she said.

Elaine plans to use Victoria Park and parts of the canal to complete her Royal Parks Half Marathon next month - due to the need to stay local while lockdown rules remain in place.

ZSL relies on the income from ticket sales to care for the 20,000 animals across their two zoos and fund their global conservation efforts. However months of closure have left it facing huge financial pressure. Vets and zookeepers have continued to provide the highest level of care which costs the charity £1 million a month.

ZSL’s Director of Funding James Wren said: “I’m sure getting through 2020 felt like a marathon for most of us, but running 13 miles is no mean feat and every penny raised from Elaine’s huge effort will help keep ZSL’s zoos open and our vital conservation work going.”

Elaine has already surpassed her £200 target and is aiming to triple her initial goal.

To donate visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=elaine-clarke&pageUrl=1