HUNDREDS of children facing difficulties were welcomed to a bird conservation centre for a 'magical' night of entertainment.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust, near Andover, hosted the special 'DreamNight' evening on Thursday, July 6.

This event returned following a hiatus during the Covid 19 pandemic and welcomed more than 200 children along with their families and carers from local hospices, youth charities, and children’s support groups.

They all came along to enjoy an exclusive evening of inspiration and entertainment featuring a fantastic flying display with a chance to see the Trust’s birds fly exhilaratingly close.

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The Trust came alive with excited cheers from the children as the birds flew over their heads.

Alongside the flying display, the children enjoyed other activities including tractor rides, face painting, meeting the animals from Finkley Down Farm Park and pony rides with the team from Andover Riding for the Disabled Association.

Andover Advertiser: Children enjoying a Tractor Ride on the Hawk Conservancy Trust's DreamNightChildren enjoying a Tractor Ride on the Hawk Conservancy Trust's DreamNight (Image: Hawk Conservancy Trust)

Felicity Strawson-Etherington, who attended with her daughter Mabel said: “Watching my daughter Mabel in awe of the birds swooping over her head was just brilliant. Thank you to all the team who were all so lovely and helpful.”

CEO Penny Smout explained that the Trust has been excited to bring back this special night for local children. She said: “DreamNight is such an enjoyable evening, for both the guests and our team here at the Trust.

"It was magical to welcome the children and watching the smiles on their faces throughout the event was a joyous sight to see once again. We are delighted to have this special event back.”

Andover Advertiser: DreamNight guest Mabel was enthralled by the Hawk Conservancy Trust's flying display on DreamNightDreamNight guest Mabel was enthralled by the Hawk Conservancy Trust's flying display on DreamNight (Image: Hawk Conservancy Trust)

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A barbeque was provided with help from Green Farm Events and Sumblers Brothers Butchers, as well as a spread of cakes and sweet treats provided by Women’s Institutes.

Local musicians and entertainers were also in attendance providing a magical atmosphere during the evening, with Jonathon the Jester bringing delight through jokes and cheer.

‘DreamNight at the Zoo’ is an event that started in the Netherlands in 1996 and has since become a global initiative. The Trust has been running DreamNights over the last decade but was forced to pause the events during the COVID 19 pandemic.