IT was a popular park attraction for years, but the Butterfly House at Wilton Park has now closed.
The house was created by the Friends of Wilton Park and opened in the greenhouse some three-and-a-half years ago.
Over this summer alone it has seen more than 6,000 people through the doors, but Friends chairman Gerry Hird has made the heart-breaking decision to call it a day.
Despite its popularity, Gerry said he didn’t have the time to run the attraction almost single-handedly and no volunteers were coming forward.
“For the last three months I have been asking people for help because I have been up here every day for a good three years,” he said. “I’m not able to do it any more.
“No-one has come forward so now we’re getting rid of everything.”
What started off as a small project for the greenhouse escalated into a full nature centre, with the Butterfly House not only housing the winged beauties but also rabbits, birds, fish and even tortoises.
Gerry said all the animals and associated equipment was now for sale.
“We’ve had everything in there,” he said. “There’s been several types of birds, 50 or 60 types of tropical fish, guinea pigs, snails, lizards and there was even a snake in there at one point.
“There’s been all sorts. And the only time we’ve closed since the project started was for a month.”
While it may be a sad day for Wilton Park, news of the closure is not the end for the greenhouse.
After taking a short break Gerry hopes to open a smaller-scale project with plants, bees and butterflies next year.
“It won’t have to be manned every day like it does now, but it will still be there for the public,” he said.
Wilton Park warden Barry Daly thanked Gerry for his hard work over the years.
He said: “There was a time when there was nothing going on at the top of the park, but Gerry put so much effort into the greenhouse and brought it back to life. He really got it going.”
In a statement the Friends thanked the public for its help and generous donations over the last three-and-a-half years, as well as Kirklees Council and the parks department.