26 Jan 2012

Fred was the husband of June Williams, George Mottershead’s youngest daughter. George set up the zoo in 1931.

Fred started work at the zoo in 1947, aged 22, and remained here for almost 40 years.

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Director General of Chester Zoo, said: “During Fred’s time with us and through hard work and ingenuity, Fred transformed the very fabric of the zoo.

“During the austere post-war years, he used whatever materials he could find and salvage to build innovative enclosures that were the first of their kind, always putting animal welfare first. These included the lions, polar bears and the aquarium, which was a collaboration between Fred and June.”

In June last year, Fred and June celebrated June’s 85th birthday with their family at the opening of the restaurant June’s Pavilion, named in her honour.

Fred and June were also the guests of honour at a dinner to celebrate the zoo’s 75th anniversary in 2009.

Dr Pilgrim added: “Fred was always very modest about his achievements but we owe him a great debt of gratitude for laying the foundations for us, both in terms of the setting up of the zoo but also in the physical building of it.

“Both he and June remain great friends of the zoo and everyone here is saddened at the loss of such an extraordinary gentleman. Fred will be greatly missed.”

Fred passed away peacefully at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford and his funeral service will be held at Blacon Crematorium at 10am on January 26.

Fred and June married in February 1949 and have lived in Upton all their lives. They have three children, George, Joy and Linda, and two grandchildren, Adam and Emma.