Animal lovers flocked to Horsham tearoom Pretty Things last night (Thursday August 8) for a talk hosted by Will Travers, the CEO of wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation.
Mr Travers, who is the son of actors and charity founders Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, spoke about campaigning and releasing animals back into the wild, and participated in a question and answer session with the audience.
The evening raised more than £350 for the world-famous charity, based in Foundry Lane, Horsham.
After the talk, Mr Travers said: “I am delighted to be here. It is a gorgeous venue and it was full, it’s a small space but we completely filled it. “The questions I was asked afterwards were all very interesting and I think people are increasingly concerned.”
The upstairs room at the tea and cake shop in Park Place, Horsham town centre, was packed full of enthusiastic listeners for the talk.
Mr Travers’ sister Louise McKenna was in attendance, as were the owners of Pretty Things, Louise Abbott and Sue Melbourne.
Mr Travers reflected on the charity as a ‘family’, and used the example of his work campaigning against the use of animals in circuses as evidence of what can happen when the family works together.
He said: “I talked this evening about the family of Born Free, and the only way that a family achieves anything is by doing things together.
“So I’m hoping that using that process and saying to people ‘become part of Born Free’, adopt an animal or come to one of these events, together we can achieve an awful lot. An overwhelming 90 per cent of people don’t want there to be wild animals in circuses.
“The government has listened, and it shows we can make the world one we want to live in and one we want to see. I think that working together we can achieve that.”
He spoke about his work alongside celebrities such as Brian May, Martin Clunes and the ‘brilliant’ Graham Norton.
Mr Travers also commented on the reasons why the international wildlife charity is based in Horsham.
He added: “There are some fantastic reasons to be based in Horsham. We are within 15 minutes of motorway routes, 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport, we are on a great train service to London.
“Communications are very good, it is a great working environment and it is a very nice town to be in - it is interesting and hasn’t been completely submerged in high street brands, it’s still got its individuality.”
Mr Travers spoke about the original Born Free film, which starred his parents, as a ‘genuine love story’, his joy at releasing a dolphin back into the wild and the use of rhino horn as medicine in parts of Asia.