A prolific wildlife campaigner and one of Hampstead's "mighty champions" has died aged 93.

Martin Humphery died on New Year's Day, with his beloved wife Angela by his side.

"I sat with Martin holding his hand as he slipped away at 9.40am on New Year’s Day, 25 years to the day that his beloved mother died," Angela said.    

"He was my husband for 66 and a half years and we had a wonderful life together."

With a deep love for conservation and animal welfare he was a member of and supported multiple charities including Born Free, Animal Asia Foundation and Greyhounds In Need.

Ham & High: Martin Humphery with Born Free co-founder Dame Virginia McKennaMartin Humphery with Born Free co-founder Dame Virginia McKenna (Image: Angela Humphery)

A retired businessman, Martin lived in Hampstead for nearly 70 years.

Former chair of the Heath & Hampstead Society, he resigned as its vice-president on January 1 last year. 

In his biography for the Heath & Hampstead Society he wrote that he walked on the Heath every day and had a strong interest in its conservation. 

He was deeply concerned at the declining condition of Hampstead's townscape and in 1995 joined the Society’s town sub-committee as co-opted member and then chairman until 2004. 

He investigated the reasons for the poor state of rubbish collection and road cleansing by Camden Council for the sub-committee in 1998, a position in which he served until 2003 when he was succeeded by Tony Hillier and became a vice-president of the Society.

He joined a newly-formed planning sub-committee in 2008 on which he served as a member until 2014.

Marc Hutchinson, chair of the Heath & Hampstead Society, said: "The Society is immensely saddened to learn of Martin’s unexpected passing.  

"He served the Society in many leading roles for nearly 30 years, stepping down finally in 2022. 

"He will be terribly missed by the many that knew him through his charitable work, over decades, for conservation in Hampstead and animal welfare.  

"We send our deepest sympathy to his wife Angela and his family."  


Will Travers, son of Dame Virginia McKenna and co-founder of Born Free, said:"Virginia and my thoughts are with Angela at this sad, sad time.

"Martin Humphery was one of the kindest, most generous and considerate gentlemen you could ever wish to meet.

"Together with his wife Angela, he supported many charities, with a particular emphasis on animals in need. 

"They were amongst the first supporters of Born Free, joining our ‘family’ more than 30 years ago."

He added: "In the summer of 2019, shortly after he’d recovered from open heart surgery, the intrepid duo, both aged 90, decided to walk for wildlife in aid of Born Free, resolutely marching every day for two months and raising more than £30,000 for our work. 

"Our co-founder, Virginia McKenna, made a Dame in the 2023 New Year Honours, joined them for one of their daily treks to personally thank them for their outstanding efforts and dedication.

"Martin was our true friend and Angela remains so, always."

Ham & High: Martin Humphery at St. James’s Palace 13 years ago with Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, who is a patron of The Brooke Hospital and Dr Salah, head vet in Cairo.Martin Humphery at St. James’s Palace 13 years ago with Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, who is a patron of The Brooke Hospital and Dr Salah, head vet in Cairo. (Image: Angela Humphery)

Carolyn Davenport, general manager of Greyhounds in Need (GIN), said: "We were sad to hear that Martin Humphery has passed away, aged 93. 

"Martin joined GIN as a Trustee in August 2003, and was chairman from June 2008, until September 2019. He retired as a Trustee in January 2022.

"Martin will be missed by many but especially by GIN for whom he gave so much of his time and effort proving, without doubt, his love for the greyhounds and galgos (Spanish greyhounds)." 

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Jill Robinson MBE founder and chief of Animals Asia, said: "Martin Humphery was simply a legend. A mighty champion for the animals. 

"Together with his wife Angela, he forged a path of relentless help and support for multiple animal charities throughout their remarkable life. 

"For nearly two decades, they supported our rescued "bile farm" bears at Animals Asia by holding countless events and making multiple generous donations.

"A big, gentle bear himself, he was without doubt the kindest, most active and tenacious soldier of welfare, with a wonderful sense of humour and the most enormous heart.

"We will miss him and send Angela our love and condolences for the loss of her right hand animal advocate who never stopped making a difference and truly made this world a kinder place."