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By: Jeremy Keeling
Jeremy Keeling first met Amy, an orang-utan, when he was looking after the private menagerie of rock-n-roll music producer Gordon Mills. A friendship was forged that would become the defining relationship of both their lives. One day, when Jeremy was driving along with one-year-old Amy sitting beside him in the passenger seat, he fell asleep at the wheel and caused a horrific car crash. The first policeman on the scene crawled into the wreckage of the upturned car where he was staggered to see a hairy, non-human hand cradling Jeremy's head amid the glass and twisted metal: having been saved by Jeremy, Amy now refused to let him go.
For Jeremy, it was to be a long convalescence, but he was able to repay his debt to Amy when he joined forces with Jim Cronin, a tough-talking primate-lover from the Bronx, who shared his vision of creating a sanctuary for abused and abandoned monkeys. Pooling their meagre resources, the two men took on a derelict pig farm in Dorset and, over the next twenty years transformed it into a 65-acre, cage-less sanctuary for beleaguered primates, rescued all over the world. Monkey World is now internationally famous and attracts some 800,000 visitors a year.
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