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‘Animal World was the best first date ever’
4:52pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
THE closure of Animal World has had a particularly emotional impact on a Tottington couple with very special memories of the centre.
Married couple Judith and Paul Kelly visited the attraction in Moss Bank Park on their first date in 1999 — which paved the way for their happy union.
Mrs Kelly, aged 46, is originally from Heaton, Bolton, but now lives with her husband, also aged 46, in Rhine Close.
She said: “I'd met him the weekend before and really wasn't looking for a husband, so I decided that a daytime date, in the open air in broad daylight was best. Moss Bank Park was ideal as it wasn't far, it was free, and it was a bit of a test as it’s not a normal first date venue.
“That was all 14 years ago and must have been a huge hit — he hardly went home after that first date.”
Animal World closed its doors for good on Sunday after Bolton Council chiefs decided that it could no longer afford the centre, which costs £80,000 a year to run.
The decision was made as the neighbourhood and regulatory services department needs to cut spending by £1.3 million.
Mr and Mrs Kelly ventured to the centre on Sunday to enjoy the Animal World experience for the final time and Mrs Kelly said it was an emotional experience.
She said: “It was actually really sad on Sunday — I had to take a packet of tissues with me and there were a lot of people with gloomy expressions — I am devastated that Animal World and the Butterfly House are closing for good.
“I completely get that Bolton Council hasn’t got the money to pay for the upkeep anymore.
“I really think that people thought ‘the cuts’ had happened a year or two ago, and people are shocked that they continue to hurt normal people, changing things like Animal World that have run for decades — but we will always have great memories as it was the best first date we could have asked for.”
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