AN outraged mother of a disabled man has spoken of her disappointment following the safari park's decision to cancel free entry for carers.

David Sherriff, aged 33, who has down's syndrome, autism and uses a wheelchair, has an annual pass that included free admission for his carer.

But when he arrived at West Midland Safari Park earlier this month for a day out, staff said that they no longer offered free admission for carers.

His mother Helen Ashby, from Stourbridge, had to cover the £22 fee for the carer. David has care 24/7 and his mum says he wouldn't be able to access the park without support.

She then slammed the safari park for its lack of communication and called their decision "discriminatory".

Previously, the safari park posted on Facebook: "We understand there will be guests unhappy with our decision to remove free admission for carers, when accompanying a guest with disabilities from 1st January.

"Whilst this new policy is in line with a number of other attractions across the UK, it is not a decision we took lightly and there were a many factors we took into account. These include examples of people wrongly exploiting the system."

Kidderminster Shuttle: David Sheriff David Sheriff

After complaining to the safari park, Helen says the Bewdley attraction will now honour free admission for annual pass holders that were purchased in 2021.

However, Helen says she will now have to pay £50 for a yearly discounted pass for carers as well as her son's £75 pass.

Helen wants these passes to be transferable so different carers can use them on different days. The discounted entry price for a day costs £22, which would increase the cost of a disabled guest and carer to £47.

Helen said: "A support worker isn't on a jolly. It's hard work, it's not only to enjoy the park. It's not wanting something for nothing."

She says the park is David's favourite place to go and is essential for his mental health as he visits more than 20 times a year.

She added: "David is animal mad - he kind of prefers animals to people. He's so happy when he's there."

Helen has said that similar attractions, such as Dudley Zoo, Twycross Zoo and Woburn Safari Park allow free entry for carers with relevant passes.

West Midland Safari Park has confirmed that they will be discussing carer passes at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, January 26).

A petition was previously launched to bring back free passes for carers which has received nearly 500 signatures.