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Monkey World News

A fitting tribute to Jim and Charlie

Daily Echo

IT is certain to be one of the most visited spots in Monkey World at Wool. A quiet area of woodland deep in the heart of the park is now home to an iconic piece of art. The bronze sculpture of Jim Cronin and Charlie the chimpanzee was unveiled on Saturday night, as a lasting and emotional tribute to Monkey World's founder who died last year of cancer. "I was terrified to commission this," said his widow Alison, revealing the sculpture to a specially invited group of the park's friends and supporters. "I thought I might be a bit of a tricky customer, but this is absolutely wonderful. It's a truly amazing piece of work." It is based on a famous photograph of Jim and Charlie. Alison added: "It is so fitting because Charlie is a testament to everything that Jim built here and it is perfect that the bust is the two of them together." The sculpture is the result of more than a year's work and was made by Yorkshire artist Steve Winterburn. He told the Echo: "This is one of the most important pieces I have done in my entire career, something really unique. “It is so fitting because Charlie is a testament to everything that Jim built here and it is perfect that the bust is the two of them together.” Dr Alison Cronin "This wasn't just a politician or some other public figure that nobody cared about. This was someone who was internationally renowned for incredible work. There was a huge amount of emotion invested in this project. "I feel enormously privileged to have been involved and I hope I have done my best." He was suggested for the commission by Bournemouth artist David Dancey-Ward who worked with Jim for over a decade. "I knew it had to be the very best and I knew Steve was the best. I am delighted with the result." The evening also saw the signing of an agreement for the second phase of work at Dao Tien rescue centre in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, an initiative in which Monkey World has been instrumental. The next stage involves construction of semi wild enclosures and may see the release of gibbons back into their natural habitat in time. The park's director Tran Van Thanh flew in from Vietnam for the unveiling and signing ceremonies as did conservationist Professor Kurtis Pei from Taiwan who has been collaborating with Monkey World for 10 years.

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