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Muriel, 87, went to Dudley Zoo on 1937 opening day and now has her own bench

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 30, 2014

Muriel Thatcher, from Wednesfield, celebrates her life membership with Dudley Zoo staff

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DUDLEY Zoo has honoured octogenarian Muriel Thatcher with a special membership to mark a lifelong love affair with her favourite attraction.

Eighty-seven-year-old Muriel first visited DZG on its opening day on May 6, 1937, and has been a staunch supporter since then, visiting at least twice a month and generously adopting many of the site's animals over the years.

To say thank you for her dedication over the last seven decades, DZG Chairman Neil Cutler and Chief Executive Officer Peter Suddock presented Muriel with life membership as well as a few extra surprises. including her own engraved bench for Lemur Wood.

During a special presentation event in front of DZG staff, Neil Cutler said: "Muriel probably knows more about the zoo than I will ever know, and we hope the bench will provide her with a bit of comfort when she gets up to Lemur Wood."

Muriel was presented with a DZG goody bag with an engraved flask among the contents, as she always brings a picnic on site after travelling on two buses from her Wednesfield home.

Muriel, who opened the £40,000 Penguin Bay exhibit in May 2012, said she was overwhelmed by the membership and gifts.

She said: "I've seen lots of changes over the past 77 years and it has improved no end, but I definitely believe it's the best it has ever been.

"The staff are so wonderful and the work they do with the animals is brilliant."

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