Animals have always had a very special place in my heart.
I feel a spiritual connection to animals on the deepest of levels and it’s why I originally (after wanting to be a writer before everything else of course) went to vet school (only not completed due to ill-health) but did go on to get an honours degree in Zoology and later a Masters in Ecology.
My love of writing and love of animals kind of went hand in hand and I used to write so many animals stories as a child, winning my first writing competition at the tender age of ten with an animal story. So the work I now do with Paws n Claws and the Born Free Foundation is a natural step, a way of bringing the two together in a very important and worthwhile way. Animals belong in the wild and my mission is to try to change what people believe about that, to rethink what you see in zoos. And if that means changing the mind of one child when I visit schools, then I am succeeding.
Yesterday I got to upload the next two Paws titles to my printer and can not thank enough the people around me who made this possible: the pinnacle of many many months of hard work. And you can not do that alone.
And to celebrate the huge amount of very satisfying work, Dad and I went to London by special invite to a Born Free Wildlife Art Exhibition and Celebrity Auction headed no less by TV’s auctioneer, James Lewis.
For me meeting Tara from Born Free who has worked tremendously hard on the new poetry book, was fantastic, numerous late night emails as we proof-read and phone calls so we feel we already know each other!
It was of course also wonderful to see Virginia McKenna again and since we have also had a lot of recent phone calls involved in this special book (details of which I will share soon!), she came right over with a hug. She is a truly remarkable woman!
So who else was there? Check out the Born Free Page here: LINK
Well, Vic Reeves and his glamorous model wife, Nancy; Anneka Rice, Elizabeth Emanuel (designed Diana’s wedding dress), Lauren St John (who has been on this blog, writer friend and judge for the poetry book and the first Paws competition), some more TV Flog It/Antiques Roadshow faces I didn’t know but Dad did! In fact a few faces I thought I knew and I finally got to meet the ever so charming and lovely son of Virginia and Bill, and head of Born Free, Will Travers.
Some amazing artwork by celebrities (see the list of names on the link above) and well-known artists and I watched as James Lewis swung into action and had the room lapping up the paintings. I stood on in awe trying NOT to twitch and find myself bidding on a £5000 painting!!!
The most expensive piece was a tiger painting drawn on the spot during the auction by the talented Sherree Valentine Daines that clocked up an impressive £10,225! http://www.sherreevalentinedaines.com/
The art exhibition is open this week at the Clarendon Art Gallery until tomorrow so you can get to see some of the wonderful paintings: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/get-involved/events/
Once again I was humbled at how hard people at Born Free work and while some charities do get bad press, ALL the money goes to the front line where it’s needed.
So, here I am — selfies with Virginia and Will, and why not?