Terminal four-year-old Leeds boy has "amazing" day at Yorkshire Wildlife Park following invite

The family of a four-year-old Leeds who was given a devastating terminal cancer diagnosis have experienced an "amazing" day at a new dinosaur exhibition at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

By Daniel Sheridan
Saturday, 11th June 2022, 11:45 am

The popular attraction invited Nova Yates and his family to the park earlier this month.

Nova Yates was just two years old in July 2020 when he started to lose his balance and the left side of his face started to droop, his mum Heather, 26, told the YEP.

After being rushed to hospital at the height of lockdown, Nova underwent a huge array of tests before an emergency 10 hour operation after a growth was found on his brain.

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Nova Yates was just two years old in July 2020 when he started to lose his balance and the left side of his face started to droop, his mum Heather, 26, told the YEP.

Due to the location of the growth and main blood vessels being entangled, Nova became an inpatient and spent the next 10 days recovering in hospital.

Following an "anxious" eight week wait for his parents Heather and Danny, Nova - who loves dinosaurs - was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer.

His case has been sent around the world to be assessed by doctors and he has spent the majority of the last two years in hospital.

However, Heather and Danny, from Bramley, have been given the devastating news that Nova's cancer is now terminal and he has been given just months to live.

Nova Yates was just two years old in July 2020 when he started to lose his balance and the left side of his face started to droop, his mum Heather, 26, told the YEP.

The news has devastated the family and hundreds of friends and families who have tracked his valiant fight against his condition in the next two years.

Nova absolutely loves dinosaurs and Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to have his family as special guests to their new exhibition.

Heather told the YEP the day was "amazing".

Pictures show the family exploring the exhibit and the rest of the park.

Nova Yates was just two years old in July 2020 when he started to lose his balance and the left side of his face started to droop, his mum Heather, 26, told the YEP.

A spokesperson for the park said: "Nova has been described to be obsessed with Dinosaurs and as YWP had just opened their brand new Pangea - Discovery of Dinosaur attraction it was the perfect opportunity to invite him and his family down to explore

"The little one was amazed by the numerous giant animatronics which almost brings to life 35 of the largest species to ever walk the life.

"Nova loved exploring Pangea and beamed from ear to ear looking at the Diplodocus and Styracosaurus."

The residents of the new reserve, Pangea - Discovery of Dinosaurs, which was opened by TV presenter Helen Skelton on May 27, have all been installed in what would have been their natural habitats, by experts at the Doncaster based Park.

Nova Yates was just two years old in July 2020 when he started to lose his balance and the left side of his face started to droop, his mum Heather, 26, told the YEP.

“Our family day out making memories at Yorkshire Wildlife Park was truly amazing. Nova loved every bit of it from the interactive dinosaurs to the wallaby walkabout. A huge thank you, we will definitely return” mum Heather added.

One of the larger dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose name means ‘ King of the Lizard tyrants' was one of the most ferocious to walk the earth with jaws that could have crushed a car. At 40ft long (12m), 12 ft tall (3.6m) and weighing 5.5-8 tonnes, the T Rex was a tour de force not to be reckoned with.

The family also got the VIP treatment when visiting the wallabies, where they got up close and personal after learning all about the species from an expert animal ranger.

Nova wasn't shy when it came to feeding the small hungry creatures, who, native from Australia and Tasmania, should not be mistaken with Kangaroos.

He was thrilled to see the park’s Red Necked Wallabies who nibbled lettuce leaves and other vegetation straight from his hand.

“It was such a great day hosting Nova and his family, Nova couldn't stop smiling it was so lovely to see him so happy exploring our latest attraction and feeding the Wallabies” said YWP’s Jade Bancroft.

"“His knowledge of the dinosaurs was incredible - he knew all their names."

Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Auckley, near Doncaster, is home to over 70 rare and endangered species including Rhinos, Lions and the country's only Polar Bears.

More than £11,000 has been raised for Nova by the Leeds community and beyond.