Fifty Shades of Greyhound: Angela Humphery talks Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench and saving monkeys

Joey and Angela Humphery at the sanctuary

Joey and Angela Humphery at the sanctuary - Credit: Archant

Longtime Hampstead resident and animal welfare campaigner Angela Humphery has put her story into a book, Memoirs of a Party Animal, with tales of her adventures working in the field.

Ricky Gervais dons his wetnose with Percy the greyhound, owned by Angela and Martin Humphery in aid

Ricky Gervais dons his wetnose with Percy the greyhound, owned by Angela and Martin Humphery in aid of National Wetnose Day and Greyhounds in Need. - Credit: Archant

She has been dubbed the Angel of the Animals for her tireless campaigning for the last 75 years on behalf of neglected wildlife and pets.

Angela, now 84, held her first fundraising event when she was just ten, a charity jumble sale which raised £4.

Since then she has gone on to raise thousands for animal welfare charities, holding fundraising tea and lunch parties and gala evenings and enlisting the support of celebrities including comic Ricky Gervais, actor Peter Egan and Dame Judi Dench.

She said: “I love parties. I love animals....I have been holding parties since the age of ten to raise funds for animals so I suppose I am that mythical beast, a party animal.”


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She has also rescued numerous defenceless creatures across the globe, from caged bears to overworked horses and farmed puppies.

Angela has lived with husband Martin Humphery and their beloved greyhounds at their terraced house in Willoughby Road, for 40 years.

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It was here, in the heart of Hampstead village, that she became involved in the “most exciting” and “amazing” adventure of her life: freeing an abused monkey that was being kept caged in a house directly opposite her own.

The story hit the Ham&High headlines back in 2008 when the rare monkey was discovered in a tiny cage in the house of her neighour Juliette D’Souza, who was subsequently jailed for fraud after posing as a shaman to con vulnerable people out of money.

Angela said: “I had lived here for 40 years and had no idea there was this poor monkey that needed rescuing just doors away. I only found out when I was alerted by the Ham&High.”

Angela immediately contacted the Monkey Sanctuary charity who gave a home to the rare Black-capped Capuchin breed.

She adopted him, paying for his upkeep and naming him Joey and still visits him at the sanctuary in Cornwall.

The book also tells how Angela, a supreme networker, enlisted actress Dame Judi Dench to become patron of the rescue charity Greyhounds in Need after meeting her daughter Finty at an airport.

It tells how comedian and Hampstead resident Ricky Gervais and Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan became regulars at her legendary Hampstead parties.

Angela joined forces with Ricky Gervais to campaign for an alternative to comic relief’s Red Nose Day, a Wet Nose Day, to raise funds for struggling animal rescue centres.

Angela’s husband Martin is chairman of the charity Greyhounds In Need, and has been rescuing and rehabilitating abused dogs since 1991.

The couple’s own dog Percy is a greyhound rescued by the charity.

He was discovered in Spain after being caught in a fox trap.

She said: “He had been abandoned at the end of the hunting season and left to starve to death.

“When he was young he was scared of everything and everyone.

Before Percy, the couple had another greyhound, named Harry.

She says: “Our life really has been fifty shades of greyhounds.”

The book is available from www.lulu.com and Amazon and is on sale at Burgh House, Zasman Vet practice in South End Green and Animal Crackers pet shop in Fleet Road.

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