EIGHTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD Miss Muriel Thatcher, whose love affair with Dudley Zoo started on its official opening day on May 6, 1937, has been a staunch supporter of the site across seven decades and has generously adopted many of the 200 species throughout the years.
In May 2012 she opened Penguin Bay, a £40,000 exhibit that is home to more than 70 endangered Humboldt penguins.
DZG CEO Peter Suddock said: "Muriel has been a season ticket holder for more years than she cares to remember and paid her first visit to the zoo, as a ten-year-old schoolgirl, with her father and sister back in 1937.
"She visits at least twice a month, regardless of the weather, and has been with us constantly throughout the good and bad times.
"Over the years she has adopted many animals within the collection and knows all the members of staff on the keeping sections and offers encouragement and support in their projects."
He added: "We often joke that Muriel knows more about the zoo than we do!"
Muriel, of Wednesfield, said she was delighted with her New Year life membership.
She said: "I just love Dudley Zoo, it's a very special place for me and I never tire of it.
"I have seen many changes over the past 76 years, but it's now definitely the best it's ever been and there are some wonderful animals.
"I cannot imagine life without Dudley Zoo, the staff are like family and it's the most magical place."
She added: "Now that I'm saving on an annual pass I'll be able to spend more money on treats for my favourite animals!"
Can you beat Muriel's 70 year record of supporting an organisation? If you can call us on 01384 567678 or email editor@blackcountry bugle.co.uk, or log on to wwww.blackcountry bugle.co.uk or write to us at the Black Country Bugle, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.