Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan’s life-changing trip to bear sanctuary in China

Peter Egan recently took a trip to a bear sanctury in China

Peter Egan recently took a trip to a bear sanctury in China - Credit: Archant

An actor currently appearing at the National Theatre has returned to the UK after visiting an Animal Asia sanctuary in China which he hailed as a “life-changing experience”.

Peter Egan

Peter Egan - Credit: Archant

Peter Egan, who lives in Hampstead and has also appeared in BBC drama Downton Abbey, took time out from performing in Alan Bennett’s People to take a three day trip to visit bears rescued from illegal farms in Asia.

Following his appointment as UK ambassador for the charity Animal Asia, he visited a sanctuary where rescued bears are cared for and prepared for release into the wild.

He also visited a newly rescued bear named after him, which Mr Egan said was “the greatest compliment”. “I think the work that Animals Asia do is quite astounding and extraordinarily creative,” he said. “To see the bears in such a vulnerable situation just broke my heart. “

Nicky Vyvyan-Robinson, education manager for the charity, said she was delighted to have the actor on board.

“He has been so helpful in all the work he’s done and it’s fair to say he is as devoted to us as we are to him,” she said.

Animal Asia is hosting its annual Walk for Freedom on Hampstead Heath on May 19, led by the Superintendant of the Heath, Simon Lee, and attended by Mr Egan. It starts at Golders Hill Park disabled car park at 10.30am.

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The actor will also perform in a fundraiser for the charity at Burgh House in Hampstead on Sunday, May 26 at 7pm, joined by fellow actors Bob Daws and Amy Robbins of The Royle Family. For tickets call 01579 347 148.