It is with a deep sense of sadness and loss that I learned of the sudden death of Peter Clayton, a long-time Born Free supporter and personal friend.
Such a lovely man, Peter was always full of enthusiasm and encouragement, making introductions, offering suggestions and attending our events.
But no experience quite topped the very first Born Free ‘adventure’ he had with us. Travelling out to Kenya and heading off in a Land Rover up Mount Kenya, (he was fond of saying that prior to that, the nearest he’d been to a tent was camping out in Knightsbridge to be first in line for the Harrods’ sale), Peter encountered real world conservation first-hand.
As I recall, he not only witnessed wild animals that had been brutally snared and killed, but also the culprits themselves. Sitting in the back of the Landie with two poachers that had been nabbed by the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Born Free team was an incredible reality check. But that was not all!
At the time, Born Free Patron, Amanda Holden, was representing us at a major motor show and was, literally, on the Land Rover stand. Peter’s call came through to our Marketing Director and the phone was passed to Amanda who then relayed Peter’s incredible tale of daring-do to an awe-struck audience. 'Conservation in Action' does not do it justice!
Peter was captivated by all sorts of issues, not only wildlife and wild animal welfare. The performing arts, theatre and engaging young people were dear to his heart – particularly the Chichester Festival Theatre.
His ideas and suggestions were always brimming with optimism and life. Nothing was more fun than going to dinner with Peter and family and friends after a Born Free event and coming up with ideas – the crazier the better – to help people and animals in need.
Virginia McKenna OBE, Born Free's Co-Founder and Trustee, said: “Peter was a dear man. His generosity of spirit, his compassion and his friendship will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family and many, many friends. His spirit will endure.”