Zumba to help animals

Gail Millar (right) and Hannah Rooney - charity Zumba event.
Gail Millar (right) and Hannah Rooney - charity Zumba event.

Would you like to help university graduate Hannah Rooney raise funds to play a vital role in animal conservation at a South African game reserve this summer - and also participate in one of the world’s fastest growing fitness programmes at the same time?

If so, then St Andrews Town Hall is the place to be tonight (Friday) for a special Zumba session, the Latin-inspired fun dance fitness class.

It has been organised by 22-year-old Hannah to help fund her near three-month long trip as a volunteer at the Shamwari Game Reserve and the class will be led by Fife-based Zumba expert Gail Millar.

Situated within the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the reserve spans an area of 25,000 hectares and is famous for its conservation work and protection of all animals.

Hannah, a former pupil of Madras College, who recently graduated in zoology from Dundee University, told the Citizen,”Shamwari is home to the big five - lions, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhino - and also zebra, hippopotamus, cheetahs, monkeys and antelope to name just a few.

“The reserve works extremely closely with the Born Free Foundation and in particular the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary. It rescues animals from dangerous situations and also takes care of sick or injured animals and provides them with care and the support they need.

“To see these beautiful animals in their natural environment is exciting. I am very lucky to be given the opportunity.”


As a volunteer at the sanctuary, Hannah, whose home is in Balmullo, will prepare food, clean cages, babysit and monitor orphaned animals, as well as provide veterinary care to rescued animals.

In addition she will assist with the day-to-day running of the reserve by participating in the continuing efforts to conserve and protect the animals, including their monitoring, the maintenance of the reserve, bush clearing and game counts.

Gail (42), who runs successful Zumba classes at several venues in St Andrews and Anstruther, is a tireless worker for charity and has organised previous events in support of Cancer Research and other organisations.

She said: ”Hannah, her mum, Sue, and sister, Kate, are regulars at my classes and I am very happy to support her fund raising effort. Our charity nights are always good fun with a terrific atmosphere.”

Tonight’s programme starts at 6.30pm - doors will be open at 6.15 - and the cost is £3 per person. Children over nine years are also welcome.