They had arranged for a meet exotic animals and an easter egg hunt. Easter eggs were kindly donated by families and businesses across Peterborough, and the exotic animal experience is run by a Cambridge based educational centre The Animal Experience, a centre that provides educational visits to schools and charities and houses some rare an exotic animal including meerkats.
I met with the keeper Kayleigh, and got to personally meet the animals, sadly no Meerkats that day, they were having babies, but she brought with her a beautiful Chinchilla, Charlie a Royal Python, A blue-tongued skink, Samson the bearded dragon, a marginated tortoise, A hissing cockroach and something really unique Lesser Tenrec, This gorgeous little creature looks like a hedgehog, but is actually more closely related to elephants, never seen one before so was defiantly an experience for me.
The goal of the shoot was simple, capture the exquisite moment children got to meet these animals, Kayleigh was amazing, she not only ensured the safety of the animals, something for me that is very important, as an animal lover you always feel worried, but also ensured the children were safe and got most of the experience. As she went around each child, letting them touch, feel, and smell their eyes just lit up, you have to imagine that these are children with a mixture of disabilities, sensory disabilities, or children that have only ever seen these animals in books and tv, and me the photographer, I had the privilege of documenting this heart-warming event and capturing the joy and wonder on the faces of these children.
The event was organised into groups so once the children got to experience the animals, they were taken to the garden and could begin an easter egg hunt, which was a just the topping on the cake that made this special day an unforgettable experience for many of the kids. They ran around, giggling and shouting, searching for eggs hidden in the grass and behind trees. When they found one, their faces lit up with delight. Easter eggs and children’s magazines with toys had been kindly donated to Little Miracles, once a child located the eggs, they marked them on their colouring sheet, and once completed hand them into one of the staff members to earn their chocolate egg and free magazine.
Capturing these events is truly a blessing. Every visit I am struck by the sense of community and connection between the families. Many of them had children with similar disabilities, and they shared stories and experiences with each other. As a photographer, it was an honor to be a part of such a special event. The children and families I met that day reminded me of the power of human connection and the importance of supporting those in our communities who may be facing challenges. I hope that my photos will help to spread a lot of smiles for the day, and help others learn about Little Miracles and the amazing work they do, and that they will inspire others to get involved and support this wonderful organization.