A tribute to Martin Humphery

4 January 2023


Born Free’s Executive President, Will Travers OBE, honours Martin Humphery, a remarkable gentleman who, with his wife Angela, was one of Born Free’s long-term supporters. Martin died on New Years Day 2023, aged 93 and a half.

Virginia McKenna sat on a bench with Martin and Angela Humphery after one of their charity walks

I am deeply saddened to report the loss of our loyal and big-hearted supporter, Martin Humphery, who peacefully died on New Year’s Day. I remember Martin with profound affection and respect. He and his wife of 66 years, Angela, were dear friends to me and my mum, (Dame) Virginia McKenna, Born Free’s Co-Founder. 

Martin was one of the kindest, most generous and considerate gentlemen you could ever wish to meet. He and Angela supported many charities, with a particular emphasis on animals in need. They were amongst the first supporters of Born Free, joining our ‘family’ more than 30 years ago.

Since those early days, Martin and Angela were always actively involved in our charity, sharing our passion to protect wild animals in the wild and end captive exploitation. Prodigious campaigners, fundraisers and donors, they loyally attended our events, marched at our protest rallies, and even joined Virginia on safari in Kenya – visiting our projects.

In the summer of 2020, during lockdown and shortly after Martin had recovered from open heart surgery, the intrepid duo – then both aged 90 – decided to Walk for Wildlife in aid of Born Free. Featured in the press and backed by supporters, including their friend Ricky Gervais, the London-based couple resolutely marched 3km every day for two months across Hampstead Heath, raising more than £30,000 for our work.

Virginia joined them for one of their daily treks to personally thank them for their outstanding efforts and dedication. “It is difficult to find words that do justice to the amazing success of Martin and Angela’s walk for wildlife,” she said at the time. “Their loyalty, and determination to support our campaign against the suffering of the animals is something I will never forget.”

Angela tells me that Martin was thrilled when Virginia was made a Dame in the 2023 New Year Honours. One of the last pictures of Martin is of him holding the cutting from The Times featuring the announcement.

Martin was kind-hearted to the very end. “Martin did not want to have a funeral or memorial service,” Angela explained to me. “Should you wish to remember him he would be thrilled if you made a donation to Born Free or another animal charity such as Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall which is struggling to survive.” You can donate to Wild Futures at: www.monkeysanctuary.org

Martin was our true friend and Angela remains so, always. Virginia and my thoughts are with Angela at this sad, sad time but we celebrate a compassionate life well lived.

Image caption: Dame Virginia McKenna sat with Angela and Martin Humphery, after joining them on one of their fundraising walks. © Piers Allardyce