Leeds park's tropical attraction renamed in honour of Ziffs

ONE of Leeds' most popular attractions will be forever linked with two of the city's greatest benefactors.

Tropical World has been officially re-named 'the Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World', though for everyday use it will still be known by its original title.

Civic heads gathered in Canal Gardens, Roundhay, to watch Marjorie, widow of Arnold (who died four years ago), pull a ribbon to unveil a commemorative flagstone at the entrance.

Then Marjorie made friends with one of Tropical World's newest guests – a gold and black butterfly from South America.

Showing no fear of creepy-crawlies, she happily nursed the sleepy insect on her sleeve.

Deputy council leader Andrew Carter had earlier paid tribute to a "most remarkable couple" who had given millions to Leeds. "In re-naming Tropical World, I am delighted to express the city's thanks for this continuing support to our great city," he said.

Coun Carter said Arnold Ziff's love of Roundhay Park stemmed from his youth when he walked through the Canal Gardens on his way to and from Roundhay School.

Edward Ziff, elder son of Arnold and Marjorie, said his father found great happiness in visiting Tropical World and Canal Gardens – "more often than visiting his shoe shop!" he joked. Arnold and Marjorie brought their children and then their grandchildren to the gardens to feed the ducks. "He really adored the place," he said.

"There was nothing that the council asked of my parents that was too much," he went on. "My father and mother loved looking after people and loved to be asked to look after people."

Council leader Richard Brett said he had learned yet more about the Ziff family's contribution.

Arnold Ziff (1927-2004) played a key role in the development of Tropical World s he gave 30,000 to help launch it in the 1980s.

He was born into a family which came to Yorkshire from Russia in the early 1900s and, though there was anti-semitism in the city, they were made welcome.

This memory guided Mr Ziff's philanthropy as he repaid the city.

Mr and Mrs Ziff were married for 52 years and have a daughter and two sons. Eleven family members attended the ceremony.

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