SHE might only be six years old but Eva Eaglesham has raised hundreds of pounds for a cause close to her heart – helping to re-home a trio of former circus bears.
Eva, from West Lothian, has raised more than £400 for the appeal – spearheaded by the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder – to save Suzy, Carmen and Peggy from horrendous conditions in Belgium.
The campaign to raise £80,000 for a new enclosure at Five Sisters for the bears, who have been rescued from the circus, has already raised £33,000.
Eva, who has two ferrets, a cat and several tropical fish, has been collecting donations and raising funds through family and friends after learning of the bears’ plight in the Evening News.
The bears, who were born in captivity, spent 20 years in a travelling circus, living in cramped cages. When the circus owner – who lived with the bears in Germany – retired, he took them to Belgium.
However, he became seriously ill and is now in hospital long-term, prompting the bears’ move to the temporary holding centre in Belgium, where they are living in cramped conditions. With the help of her mum, June McCubbin, Eva, who lives in Winchburgh, hosted a jumble sale and tombola at her home on Saturday, where she also sold homemade cakes to raise further funds for the cause.
Miss McCubbin, a housing officer, said: “We went to a Five Sisters’ bear fundraising weekend and decided on the back of that to hold a jumble sale. It was very last-minute.
“We love the zoo anyway and when Eva found out about the bear appeal, she really wanted to do something to help.”
Eva added: “I want to see the bears happy and not in a cage.”
The Winchburgh Primary pupil is also planning a car boot sale, possibly next to the Omni Centre in around a fortnight’s time, to sell any leftover items from the jumble sale, which she hopes will bring the total raised to more than £600.
Miss McCubbin, 36, who is convinced that her daughter will one day become a vet, said: “She absolutely adores animals and has got such a buzz out of organising this.
“Although she is only six, she completely understands about the animals and their situation – she has a social conscience. I’m very proud of her.”
Five Sisters owner, Brian Curran, added: “Eva is a little star. We are very lucky to have the support of our local community and beyond, and to have her volunteer to help means the world. We’re looking forward to her seeing the bears for the first time when they arrive.”
Construction of the enclosure at the zoo is under way and it is hoped that Suzy, Carmen and Peggy will be moved in by Christmas.
Miss McCubbin said: “We visit the zoo lots and go every Christmas Eve, it’s become a wee tradition over the past few years. It would be a wonderful Christmas present if we could get them into their new home by this Christmas.”
Eva also plans to have a collection in aid of the bear appeal at her seventh birthday party in Winchburgh Bowling Club next month, and is considering taking part in a sponsored walk – organised by the zoo – across the Forth Road Bridge on Sunday to raise further funds.
Miss McCubbin added: “I’m sure we will think of something else after that. I think we have got a wee buzz for it now.”