Local Community News


Tapnell Farm Park welcomed 2 very special guests during October Half-term, as 2 seasoned Isle of Wight holidaymakers – who met and married on the Island, and have been visiting for over 50 years – returned to see their favourite mob of wallabies.

Therese Willmore, 84, and her husband Dennis, 79, made the journey all the way from Kent, just to pay a visit to the newly opened Farm Park attraction in West Wight. Therese has been a regular visitor to the Isle of Wight with her family for 51 years, and would stop off to feed the ducks at their ‘favourite place to relax’, Island attraction Flamingo Park (which later became Seaview Wildlife Encounter), on most of their visits. Therese and Dennis also met and married on the Island, so it holds a special place in their hearts.

They discovered Seaview Wildlife Encounter had closed last year, after reading a newspaper article about their mascot “Dippy the Penguin” being relocated to the Sealife Centre in Great Yarmouth. During their next visit to the Island they found out many of Seaview Wildlife Encounter’s animals, including the friendly mob of wallabies, had moved to a new home, at the recently opened Tapnell Farm Park, and they set their sights on paying them a visit.

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With a little bit of help from Tapnell Farm Park, they managed to achieve this, visiting the farm on a mild Wednesday afternoon in late October. They were greeted by Fern Simpkin – one of Seaview Wildlife Encounter’s former animal keepers, who moved to Tapnell to continue caring for the animals – who remembered Therese and Dennis from their previous visits at Seaview. Fern led them on a tour of the new Wallaby Walkabout area at Tapnell Farm, and treated them to a personal ‘meet and greet’ session with the wallabies, where the Kent couple got to pet and feed them.

After their visit, Therese wrote to Tapnell Farm Park to report they had enjoyed a fantastic day, and would be returning on their next visit to the Island in March.

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