I’ve some wonderful news to share and wanted personally to tell you without delay.
My mother and Founder of the Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna OBE, has just been awarded the prestigious ‘Outstanding Contribution Honour’, at ITV’s inaugural British Animal Honours 2013. Broadcast earlier this evening, the dazzling awards ceremony was hosted by Paul O’Grady and celebrated the country’s most extraordinary animals and the amazing people who dedicate their lives to them. I hope you managed to see it, but if not you can see a video and read a transcript of Virginia’s speech here.
Here at the Born Free Foundation we’re deeply moved and very proud that Virginia’s tireless work for wildlife has been so publicly recognised – the tributes from Martin Clunes, Jenny Seagrove, Helen Worth, Brian May and Anita Dobson are still ringing in my ears.
The awards ceremony included a fascinating insight into her life as a wildlife crusader and, of course, as a much-loved actress. Virginia, who was voted one of the most inspirational people of all time in a Daily Telegraph poll, starred in some of our best-loved films, including Carve Her Name With Pride, A Town Like Alice, Ring of Bright Water and of course, the phenomenally successful Born Free – a film which changed her life and that of my late father Bill with whom she co-starred.
But despite an exceptional career in cinema and theatre, Virginia pushed aside the glamour of movie stardom and the West End stage to focus on her personal mission with the Born Free Foundation, the wildlife charity she helped found back in 1984 and on whose behalf has worked unstintingly ever since.
Seeing her recognised in this way – by her peers and by the public at large – has given me fresh inspiration and I know you too share her passion for lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, bears, dolphins, wolves and thousands of wild animals that rely on us for their safety and survival.
It’s great to count on you as part of the Born Free family and so, as a mark of respect for Virginia’s work, I have a personal request to make. I wonder if you would click on the buttons below and take further action to save lives, stop suffering, rescue individuals and protect species.
Virginia has just launched a major appeal to raise funds to protect Africa’s lions from exploitation and we urgently need your help and support.
And finally, you can keep up to date with our work to help animals through our social media. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to our free monthly e-newsletter BF-Mail. Get connected to the wild today!
Together, thanks to Virginia, we are a voice for the animals and a force for good.