Born Free actress Virginia McKenna joins Hampstead campaigners on charity walk
- Credit: Archant
Angela and Martin Humphery have covered 180km with their two month daily walk across Hampstead Heath to raise funds for McKenna’s wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation
Born Free star Virginia McKenna joined Hampstead wildlife campaigners Angela and Martin Humphery on the final leg of their two month charity walk across the Heath on Monday.
With a combined age of 180, the couple have covered 180 kilometres over 60 days, raising almost £25,000 for The Born Free Foundation.
They hope to hit £30,000 with their final push of their ‘going bats for wildflife’ Heath challenge.
McKenna, 89, who lit up the silver screen in movies such as A Town Like Alice, Carve Her Name With Pride and A Ring of Bright Water, is co-founder of the charity which is currently campaigning for the closure of wildlife markets.
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She was joined on Monday by her son Will Travers who as Born Free’s executive president is lobbying the World Health Organisation against these cruel markets, which foster the illegal wildlife trade and have been linked to the Covid 19 pandemic.
She said: “Angela and Martin have been supporters of Born Free from the earliest days and we are simply thrilled at the amazing support their walk has generated for the charity. The fact that Martin had heart surgery less than a year ago is even more inspiring. Will and I did not want to miss this opportunity to thank them in person (from a safe distance) and celebrate the completion of their challenge!
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“The funds will help greatly toward our ongoing campaign to ban wildlife markets around the world. The Coronavirus pandemic, and its devastating impacts on the lives of people and the global economy, has brought home once more the immense risks that commercial scale consumption of wild animals poses to human society. The warning signs have been there for years, but we have failed to learn from past mistakes. We cannot afford to do so again.”
During their mission, Angela and Martin have received support from animal lovers and friends including Miranda Hart, Gaby Roslin and Ricky Gervais.
Thanking them, major sponsor Prospect Capital, and “all those who have given their time and donated so generously” Angela said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our daily hikes around the Heath which have not only kept us fit but have given us something positive to focus on during lockdown.”
McKenna starred with Bill Travers in the 1966 film Born Free, which celebrated the joy of lions in the wild. The foundation set up in its name opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.
Travers added: “As the world looks to recover from COVID-19, a return to ‘business as usual’ cannot be an option. We are calling on the World Health Organisation and other key agencies to work with governments, non-governmental organisations and all stakeholders to invest in a safer and healthier future for wildlife and people alike. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful support of people like Angela and Martin and the hundreds of people who have donated to their incredible fundraising task.”
Contribute to Angela and Martin’s fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/goingbats
Find out more at www.bornfree.org.uk