Last month, staff at the Cotswold Wildlife Park mourned the loss of Susan Heyworth, widow of the park’s founder, John Heyworth.

Susan had been by her husband’s side since the park first opened on Good Friday, March 27 1970.

John transformed the bramble-strewn wilderness of Bradwell Grove Estate into the much-loved park that exists today.

With over 1,500 animals from 250 different species, the park boasts one of the UK’s biggest zoological collections and has been visited by over 12 million people.

Throughout the parks near 52-year life, a variety of critters have come and gone and these photos celebrate the characters that make the Cotswold Wildlife Park so special.

Perhaps the park’s most iconic resident was Radar, the male red panda, who in 1978 was adopted as the official mascot of Cotswold Radar RAF.

However, no animal has been at the park as long as George, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, who has called it home since the day it opened.

Of course, just as important as the animals are the guests.

Perhaps the most widely recognised image of the Cotswold Wildlife Park is that of the little girl sat with Rocky the Rockhopper Penguin in the 1970s.

Staff say that the girl continues to visit the park to this day, now with children of her own.