Pupils at St Anne’s Catholic Voluntary Academy enjoyed an ‘incredible’ trip to Chester Zoo thanks to community fundraising efforts.

The school, in Buxton, signed up for free tickets to the zoo and received enough to be able to take the whole school, which is made up for over 220 pupils and staff.

But the cost of transporting everyone was coming in at over £2,500 so the school launched a fundraising drive in a bid to pay for the travel.

Through a series of events, including a 12-hour sponsored walk at school by staff and some pupils and a Summer Fair/Meet the Teacher event, over £2,700 was raised.

One of the biggest events was a car wash held all weekend by a family who have children at St Anne’s. They were supported by local firefighters and together they raised a total of £575.

Pupil Danny, seven, described the trip to the zoo as ‘incredible’.

He said: “I’ve never been to Chester Zoo before. I’ve been to other zoos but nothing as big as this one. We saw an ant eater, monkeys and lions. The lions were a bit scary but it was great to see them. I also saw a chameleon. I really enjoyed the day.”

Pupil Oscar, nine, said it was a brilliant day.

He said: “My favourite bit was going into the bat cave. There were lots of bats and they were coming quite close. I also really enjoyed seeing the Komodo dragons and the chameleon. As a year group we were paired up with some of the younger children so we were helping them which was nice. I was really tired by the end but it was a brilliant day.”

Assistant Headteacher Stephanie Clarke said that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

She said: “Our children and staff had a fantastic day at Chester Zoo. For some of our children it would have been their first trip to the zoo and they all loved seeing the different animals. It was a trip that was fun and educational and it will be something that the children will remember for a long time to come. We would like to thank Chester Zoo for the tickets and everyone who supported our fundraising drive and enabled us to be able to offer our children such a wonderful experience. We would also like to thank the Friends of St Anne’s who purchased high visibility jackets for every child.”