Charity walk from Whipsnade to London Zoo
PUBLISHED: 17:25 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:25 16 December 2019
Belsize Park businessman Alex Large hopes to raise £70,000 for ZSL's wildlife conservation projects in Kenya and Nepal
Alex Large is hoping to raise £70,000 for a cause close to his heart after walking from Whipsnade to London Zoo.
The Belsize Park businessman was joined by family and friends on the nine-day 150-mile sponsored ramble on a looping route that followed London's river from Marlow to the Thames barrier - then back along the Regent's Canal to Regent's Park.
A lifelong wildlife lover and trustee of ZSL, the ex banker wanted to raise funds for their conservation work overseas.
"As a local resident I take regular walks through Regent's Park past the zoo and would often visit when my children were younger," he said.
"Conservation has been close to my heart since I was a child and I have lived overseas in many countries where there is wildlife in need of protection. I always knew it was more than just a zoo, but after becoming a trustee of ZSL I have learned so much more about the incredible breadth of the work that the parent organisation does."
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After securing £35,000 in pledges from 200 donors in eight countries, Large says a fund-matching scheme is set to double the sum.
It will help to fund ZSL's schemes to support people in Nepal and Kenya to protect their local wildlife.
"The deadline for fund matching before the end of the year meant I could maximise what I raised," says Large.
"A friend said: 'If you are going to do a walk, do it with other people.' The most direct route was straight down the M1 which wasn't very interesting, so I thought that walking through the Chiltern hills to Marlow and along the river would help to celebrate the work that ZSL is doing with Thames conservation."
Like all the best fundraising projects Large also got a great deal from his philanthropic gesture.
"It was wonderful, I had people walking with me for all but six hours, I got a chance to see lots of people who were interested in why I was doing the walk, as well as to spend time with old friends and family.
"It was inspiring to have that support, and being outdoors and close to nature was very good for the soul. But more important is what it may mean for ZSL and the work they do around the world at what is an interesting and important time for conservation and environmental issues."
To find out more about ZSL's conservation work or to make a donation go to zsl.org