IT'S time to turn back the clock and remember a Weymouth attraction that would get us all a flutter.

Weymouth Butterfly Farm opened at Lodmoor, where Sandworld is now, in April 1984. It was set up by journalist Simon Regan of Scallywag magazine fame.

Botanist David Bellamy was there and celebrated the occasion by posing for a photo with a rather large butterfly on his nose!

Dorset Echo: David Bellamy opening the farmDavid Bellamy opening the farm

Many of our readers have fond memories of this colourful, tropical attraction, which, Wayne Dietrich says, was originally a separate attraction and later incorporated into the Sea Life Centre and became the Tropical Jungle for several years before being removed altogether.

According to Maree Djones, there was even a tarantula called Boris at the farm who made guest appearances and another popular character there was a parrot that would imitate visitors! "It was a fab place, like a hot house you walked through with lots of tropical butterflies flying around."

Apparently Boris the tarantula was owned by Simon.

The butterfly farm was the destination for many school trips.

Emma Humpage said: "It was an amazing place - I remember going there when I was younger. It was renamed 'tropical jungle' which still existed when I was a student working for sealife in the mid/late 90s."

Dorset Echo: The tropical paradise that was Weymouth Butterfly FarmThe tropical paradise that was Weymouth Butterfly Farm

The warm temperature of the farm meant it was 'like a sauna in that place', Hayley Grant said.

Janet Rosemary said: "It was beautiful. I remember it well, amazing butterflies."

Dave Ward said: "I remember visiting and seeing massive caterpillars and butterflies there, great for a rainy day as it was so hot and humid in there, think I was brushing and checking my clothes for about two hours after coming out there."

Fear was something that Kerry Baker felt on a visit to the butterfly farm. She writes: "I remember my late aunt taking me as a child. I was so scared I screamed and had to be taken back out."

Linsy Ross said: "I loved this place, held the tarantula and I’m sure a giant grasshopper/cricket as well?"

"I remember the butterfly farm, I loved going in there till the tarantula came out then I ran a mile!" Anita Sherriff recalls.

Alison Upton used to work at the attraction. She said: "I worked in there for a few years in the 80s not when it was full of butterflies though it was later and in the gift shop with an amazing lady called Carol Moore who taught me so much about the birds and plants that were growing. There was a big pond full of koi carp too."

Dorset Echo: Councillors visit Weymouth Butterfly Farm in May 1987Councillors visit Weymouth Butterfly Farm in May 1987

Among the photos on this page is a picture of councillors on a visit to the butterfly farm in May 1987. Thanks to Pamela Boyce, we think we've got them named. They are: "(from right to left), Councillor Fred Morris, Frank Lovelock (Council Solicitor), Councillor Mike Jewkes, Councillor Arthur Sheppard (all Weymouth & Portland BC)." It's unknown who the man on the left is.

Dorset Echo: Merchandise from Weymouth Butterfly FarmMerchandise from Weymouth Butterfly Farm

Weymouth Butterfly Farm founder Simon Regan died aged 58 in 2000. He was known as the scourge of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He had worked for the News of the World, specialised and revelled in making outrageous allegations and, in Weymouth, exposing the dark side of local government. He was a regular sight in the resort’s pubs where he would hold court.

Inspired by Private Eye magazine, Regan began Scallywag when he was living in Weymouth, supported by Smartie the parrot and Smokey the cat. Its targets were estate agents, local councils and the brewery.

The magazine was perhaps best known for losing a libel action brought by Prime Minister John Major. Regan also had a publication called Butterfly News.

If you have memories of Weymouth Butterfly Farm, get in touch, with pictures if you have them, by emailing or calling 01305 830973.