Lion Nelson’s big birthday

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AN ICONIC stuffed lion long rumoured to be the inspiration for the statues at the base of Nelson’s Column is set to celebrate his 65th anniversary of residence in Rotherham’s Clifton Park Museum.

Much-loved Nelson, a South African Cape lion of a species now extinct, is believed to be the lion used by artist Edward Landseer as the model for the bronze big cats that sit at the foot of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

In life, Nelson toured Europe in a travelling menagerie of animals before eventually settling down in Regents Park Zoo in London, where he died in 1872 aged 25.

He was loaned to Clifton Park Museum in 1947, and finally donated permanently in 1970.

Next Wednesday visitors are invited to celebrate his 65th birthday with a cake, activities, and story-telling.