Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 14:54 UK

Founder's statue at monkey centre

The statue of Jim Cronin and Charlie, created by Steve Winterburn
The statue of Jim Cronin and Charlie was created by Steve Winterburn

A statue has been unveiled at an animal rescue centre in Dorset in memory of its late founder.

Jim Cronin set up Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Wool, near Wareham, in 1987 to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent home.

He died in March 2007, at the age of 55, after a short illness.

A bronze bust of Mr Cronin and Charlie, one of the first chimps he rescued and re-homed at the centre, was unveiled by his wife Alison on Saturday.

Monkey World is home to 150 apes of 15 different species.

Mr and Mrs Cronin, who established the centre's global reputation for excellence in primate rehabilitation, have worked with different governments to re-home abused animals.

Monkey World remains at the forefront of a worldwide campaign to stop the illegal hunting, smuggling and sale of endangered species.

Mrs Cronin said she was very emotional but happy to be unveiling the new statue.

Alison and Jim Cronin
The Cronins rescued primates from all over the world

She said of the statue, which was made by sculptor Steve Winterburn: "It is Jim, it's his face, it's his expression, it's everything and such a fitting tribute.

"He needs to be here, we're carrying on his work.

"It's a fantastic effort. So many people came in and contributed to this statue, including Charlie.

"Steve got in there with Charlie to get good measurements of his hands and everything else.

"Charlie is one of the icons of the park, one of the very first chimpanzees to come here and his battle was a long one.

"Having Jim and Charlie here together is perfect. Charlie is still with us and we're pleased with that.

"It's really sad about Jim but I'm glad that we at least have something here to remind everybody about what this park stands for and how it got started."


SEE ALSO
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30 Jan 08 |  Dorset

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