Simon Cowell wildlife aid

Simon Cowell MBE (not that one, though he did say using his name got him instant restaurant reservations) finally succumbed to an aggressive cancer in June 2024. His organisation Wildlife Aid (Surrey) has rescued hundreds of thousands of animals, and also operates an emergency national helpline. Read more on how to help your local wildlife rescue.

One of our most respected conservationists, in his book My Wild Life he writes of how he began to rescue wildlife in his garden, as a way to distract from his stress-indused health problems as a London city broker. He made potloads of money, but blacked out on a train due to stress, and eventually was sacked. This was the best thing to ever happen to him (and the hundreds of thousands of wildlife that have since been rescued by his charity).

Simon became quite well-known when his rescues appeared on national TV (he also reported on international issues like moon bears in Vietnam, wolves in Russia and mountain gorillas in the Congo). However, this outspoken man (charity patron Ricky Gervais called him ‘David Attenborough with Tourettes’) was not a fan of many wildlife TV documentaries that approach animals just for entertainment.

He believed that animals should always be left alone, unless they need help. He himself has been bitten by hedgehogs, gored by deer (one antler missed his jugular by around an inch) and one owl even sunk his talons into Simon’s scalp. But he knew they were doing this as they were scared, and believed that ‘celebrity wildlife documentaries’ do more harm than good. And as for caged animals – he wrote ‘Don’t get me started on zoos, because I hate them with a vengeance’.

let’s support Simon’s last wish

Simon Cowell wildlife aid

Back home, Simon realised that nearly all wildlife casualties are due to issues from humans (netting, lead shot, litter, road accidents etc). When he knew he was dying from cancer (his daughter now continues his important work), he decided he wished to leave a legacy: The Wildlife Aid Centre will be made up of 20 acres of wetland habitat, a visitor centre and wildlife hospital (all on a former ecologically impoverished site, next to London’s M25).

The centre will create habitats and ponds for wildlife, along with secure buildings, garages and a workshop. There will be a Centre and Community Hub for visitors to engage with nature, and mature trees, hedges, shrublands and woodlands, to provide vital habitats for wildlife (and food like flowers and berries). Two orchards are also planned to provide more natural food for local animals. Sponsorship opportunities from companies are welcome.

easy fundraising ideas for Wildlife Aid 

Simon Cowell wildlife aid

You can donate at Just Giving to reach the target of £4 million (it will cost over £12 million to build long-term but work can start soon as the Wildlife Aid Foundation has already contributed some costs). Or select ‘Wildlife Aid Foundation’ at Charities Aid Foundation and tick the box, to donate anonymously. Either way, tick the Gift Aid Box so the charity can claim back tax you pay, to increase each donation.

Simon Cowell wildlife aid

Wildlife Aid Shop offers lovely organic cotton t-shirts and sweatshirts for men, women and children (plus cotton grocery totes to replace plastic bags). So when time comes to replace, choose these instead. All are printed-on-demand on organic cotton and sent in zero waste packaging. A great way to raise funds, for things you would already buy.

easysearch lets you search online, and sponsors raise money for any small charity. If lots of people do this (performing just two average searches a day), the charity can earn thousands. Paid for by sponsors, this is a no-brainer.

Of course the best way to help any wildlife rescue is simply for all of us to live simple sustainable lives, so they have less work to do. Leave wildlife alone, garden organically and don’t drop litter. Simon askes us to all do ‘just one thing’. Pick up a rubber band or a piece of glass. Together this would amount to 29 billion actions alone across the UK.

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