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Mildenhall disabled man seeks crowd funding for exotic animal education business

Gary Watt with a boa constrictor

Gary Watt with a boa constrictor

Gary Watt is hoping crowd funding will give him the chance to get his life back when the banks consider him too high risk.

Gary suffered a brain aneurysm in his Mildenhall home in March 2013 and was then in hospital for three months, part of it in a coma, in three hospitals.

At 37 it has left him doing far better than he says even the most optimistic doctors expected, but with several disabilities due to the amount of brain damage he suffered.

He said: “I’m now registered blind – I do have a very limited amount of vision – I have a form of epilepsy that means I should not leave my home without my carer, the entire left side of my body is weakened as though from a stroke, and I require a walking stick when out of the house.”

But he has an ambitious plan to turn his hobby of keeping exotic pets into a business.

He has a strong IT background and ran a traditional petting zoo with a friend.

His idea is to combine the two and take his snakes, lizards and invertebrates, including tarantulas and millipedes, into schools, but with a multi-media facility to take it beyond the usual animal handling experience.

As well as digital microscopes he will use graphics to show where the animals come from and how they fit into the ecology before exploring things like climate change and deforestation.

He has worked on it with a science teacher friend and will write the software himself,

“You use the animals as a focus point to get the children interested, then use it to go on to the environment,” he explained. “When they’ve got the animal in their hand it’s very different to looking at a picture.”

“This is my only chance to get back to work and do something with my life,” he said.

He has set up a Just Giving site at www.justgiving.com and if he does not raise enough to get started, money will be refunded to donors. Gary estimates he needs about £5,000.

 

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