A great day out to support British wildlife
I suspect Guilford Cathedral has seen some sights in its time, but last Bank Holiday Monday it was certainly rocking. Thanks to long-time International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) pal Brian May and his Save Me foundation, monster rockers Hawkwind performed on the outdoor stage and Brian himself did an acoustic gig inside with Katrina from Katrina and the Waves. And why was the Cathedral rocking, you may ask? It was the venue once again for Wildlife Rocks, a showcase for the animal welfare and conservation movement to show that it knows how to party, all in aid of protecting British wildlife, such as our badgers and foxes.
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More than 4,000 people attended the event. There were stalls from scores of organisations, speakers and music acts both small and huge. Balloons were waved, faces were painted and vegetarian food was scoffed by all and sundry. The weather was kind as we sweltered one minute in the rare Bank Holiday sunshine and shivered the next as cool blasts of wind reminded us that it was still early May and Guilford Cathedral stands on a tall hill.
Of course, IFAW had a stand and I made a speech. It was an interesting crowd to talk to – an audience of animal lovers inside a Cathedral, talk about preaching to the choir. It seemed best to reflect on how much we have achieved, despite obvious setbacks. I reminded everybody listening that we animal lovers are in the majority. IFAW alone has around half a million supporters in the UK and animal concerns are always the biggest issue in MPs’ inboxes. I also spoke about recent successes; stopping the Hunting Act from being amended out of existence and preventing the badger cull from being rolled out across the country. Clearly, just because hunting is illegal and the cull is not nationwide, we cannot be complacent. I ended by saying that this is not the case and that I know we can rely upon the majority of people who care and respect for animals to continue fighting the good fight.
When I got home, with a bit of a suntan, I reflected on what a good day it had been. It was a great experience to be with so many like-minded, good humoured and jolly decent people. As ever, I feel humbled to do the job I do and I stand in awe at the great work our supporters and the supporters of a myriad of other organisations do. A great day out.