Pollyanna Returns from Australia – the Final Continent!

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In December 2016 Pollyanna stepped off a plane on to Australian soil – and in doing so successfully completed an incredible quest – to be one of the few artists who have painted on all seven continents. Driven by the beauty and intricacy of the wilderness, she is renowned for her travels into some of the most remote and inhospitable parts of the world, where she studies and paints endangered species in their increasingly fragile habitats.

Check back soob for a feature page about this joureny including photos & sketches.

On all except the very first of her journeys, Pollyanna has been accompanied by her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise (above) who not only organises the expeditions, but also documents them photographically for Pollyanna’s talks and books, and keeps detailed journals which then form the basis for the text of the books about their travels.

Several of their expeditions have been truly ground breaking. In the early 1990’s they were the first two western women ever to travel to a remote area of the Borderlands of China and Tibet, where they worked in a hospital for pandas – and incredibly also sighted a wild Giant Panda – at a time when fewer than 50 westerners had ever done so.  In 2008 Pollyanna was granted a fellowship from the Canada based Artists for Conservation Society and undertook a landmark expedition into the remote and isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, carrying their expedition flag.  She became the first western artist to comprehensively study and paint the wildlife of the kingdom, and the resulting paintings were exhibited in the UK, Canada and New York – and this year will also be shown in China. Pollyanna is the only artist ever to have sketched the Ethiopian Wolf from life.  The rarest wolf in the world, there are none in captivity anywhere – even in Africa – and Pollyanna travelled to the Sanetti Plateau high in the Bale Mountains to search for them.

Most importantly every single expedition which Pollyanna has undertaken has subsequently inspired a collection of paintings – and each exhibition of this work has raised vital funds for a conservation or community project in that country.  From building a rehabilitation enclosure for orphaned painted dogs in Namibia to rescuing a moon bear from the unspeakably cruel bile farming trade, carefully selected projects help some of the most vulnerable species globally.

And although Australia might be the final continent for Pollyanna it is definitely not the final journey – this Summer she will be heading to Brazil in search of jaguars in the Amazon basin.  She is also looking forward to joining Born Free in Kenya to help build lion proof enclosures for Masai cattle, and will be returning to the deserts of Arizona to continue studying their unique wildlife prior to a one man exhibition in Tucson in 2018

Farewell to John Hurt

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Pollyanna was  very saddened to learn of the death of a famous collector of her work – actor John Hurt. John purchased Pollyanna’s original paintings from her London Exhibitionas

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John even posed in front of one of Pollyanna’s owl sketches – along with former wife Donna – for a feature about his home in HELLO! magazine.

They enjoyed another link through the Derby Art Centre Quad – Pollyanna wasa member of the development committee, while John was their founder patron. Whenever they met, they would take the opportunity to reminisce about their training at the London Central School of Art – which

they attended two years apart – including their memories of sketching Quentin Crisp in life drawing classes. John of course famously went on to play Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant.

John Hurt was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, and after leaving the London Central School of Art went on study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He went to become one of Britain’s greatest acting talents winning numerous awards including three BAFTA’s, a Golden Globe and two Oscar nominations. Hurt’s film career stretches from the early sixties to the present day and includes celebrated roles in A Man for All Seasons, The Elephant Man, Midnight Express and Alien.

Jonathan Scott Draws the Winning Ticket

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TV presenter and naturalist Jonathan Scott is a wildlife expert, photographer and author with a passionate concern for conservation and the environment, and Pollyanna was delighted that he could join her to draw the winning ticket in her annual summer prize draw.

Jonathan is best known for the wildlife series he has presented for the BBC including the popular Big Cat Diary, as well as Elephant Diaries, Dawn to Dusk, and Africa Watch, and his documentaries for Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and Paramount TV

The lucky winner, Ms Scruton of Sheffield  has won a painting of a robin.  A full list of winners is below.

Pollyanna  met Jonathan back in 1986 when she was invited to stay with him on her first ever safari into Africa – which took her to the Masai Mara.  Many people don’t know that Jonathan started out as a wildlife artist, and they bonded over their shared love of big cats and the importance of being able to observe their subjects in the wild.

Jonathan moved from the UK to Africa in the 1970’s.  He says of the move “The one thing I could do was draw. When I ­came to live in the Kenya they said: “We can’t pay you any money.” But I said, “So long as I can take people on game drives, I’m happy,” and I began selling my pen-and-ink drawings. But, at some point, it dawned on me that this is a photographer’s paradise. By then, I had earned enough money for my car and could afford better cameras and lenses.” So Jonathan moved into photography and documentary making while Pollyanna of course continued to pursue her passion for painting! On that first meeting they would never have imagined that 30 years later Jonathan would be drawing the winning ticket in the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation’s annual prize draw!

Between the sales of prize draw tickets, donations and a percentage of sales from Pollyanna’s Winter exhibition the Foundation has raised £3000.00 to build a new rehabilitation exercise aviary and hospital units at the Raptor Trust in Norfolk.


Pollyanna Pickering Foundation Grand Draw

Winter 2016

First Prize : 00596 : Original Painting : Ms L. Scruton, Sheffield

Runner Up Prize of framed signed limited edition print:

00672: J. Hales, Derby

Runner Up Prizes of a selection signed calendars, tote bags, and diaries

00791 : Ms Mills, Derby

00526 : Mr & Mrs Bunting, Wirksworth

00730 : J. Robinson, Sheffield

00158 : Ms J. Briggs, Matlock

00751 : Ms P. London, Wigston Magma

00583: Ms L. Gardner, Peterborough

00244 : M. Edwards, Messingham

00760 : Mrs P. Edwards, Nottingham

Pollyanna joins Princess Michael of Kent for Cheetah Event

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Pollyanna was honoured to be invited to join HRH Princess Michael of Kent – who is a huge cheetah lover – at a gala fundraising event for the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  They are pictured above with award winning photographer Angie Scott (centre).

The evening saw the UK Launch of Angie’s husband Jonathan’s new autobiography The Big Cat Man. Also in attendance was BBC’s Kate Silverton, who has a long association with conservation and has presented the Big Cat Diary in the past with Jonathan Scott.

Held at the prestigious May Fair Hotel in London, over 160 guests gathered from far and wide to hear wildlife celebrity Jonathan Scott celebrate his life with Big Cats whilst Dr Laurie Marker, founder of CCF, took to the stage to share insights about work on and off the field in Namibia and around to world to help save the cheetah. She spoke about how pioneering research and conservation work have lead to cheetah numbers doubling in Namibia over the last 26 years. However she emphasized that despite so much support and positive action the cheetah remains the most endangered big cat in Africa with only 6,700 remaining in the wild. The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation is proud to have funded education programmes in Namibia in partnership with the CCF, and Pollyanna has been invited to visit their headquarters and sanctuary in Africa. The fund raising evening included unique cheetah inspired auction prizes, as well as a cheetah themed raffle.

Foundation Builds New Aviaries for Raptor Trust

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The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation’s primary fundraising campaign in 2016 contributed £12500.00 to build lion proof cattle pens in the Masai Mara to mark Born Free’s Year of the Lion.

Our other major project for the year was to build a large size exercise and rehabilitation aviary and new hospital units at Raptor Trust UK in Norfolk.  Because the trust were able to secure volunteer labour to construct the aviary and units, the Foundation was able to maximise the value of the £3000.00 needed to purchase materials.

The Aviary is already in use – the first resident was this red kite (above) using the aviary to recover and rebuild his strength following treatment.  He has subsequently been released into the wild – and you can find a video of his release on the Raptor Trust’s facebook page!  Construction of the hospital units has now begun.

This project goes back to the roots of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation. For fifteen years Pollyanna ran a wildlife sanctuary from her home, specialising in the care of owls and birds of prey.  When loss of help forced her to make the difficult decision to close the hospital, she started the Foundation, initially with the aim of supporting similar UK based rescue centres – and has continued with this aim.  However in the intervening years, the Foundations work has become global, funding conservation and rescue projects around the world.

Secret World Ball

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Pollyanna joined BBC Countryfile and Panorama presenter Tom Heap at Secret World Wildlife Rescue’s annual Ball last October. Tom was the compere for the event – which this year had an oriental theme.  Supporters of the charity enjoyed a three course meal and then took part in an auction, cabaret, casino and dancing.

Pollyanna joined Tom (right) to draw the raffle and present the awards for the best fancy dress costume of the night.

David Foulds, CEO for the charity said “This event gives people a chance to have fun while also raising funds for our charity’s work.  It is wonderful to have well known personalities supporting us”

The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation has previously funded the building of mobile rehabilitation aviaries for the wildlife hospital, and Pollyanna’s artwork has appeared in books by Secret World founder Pauline Kidner who said “We had a fantastic turnout of over 200 people from across the UK for the event which is an important one for Secret World as it raises vital funds”.

Pollyanna’s Create & Craft TV Anniversary

Pollyanna filmed another 27 live shows for Create and Craft TV  during 2016 – and in August celebrated her third anniversary of filming on the channel!  Crafter Louise Mayo made an amazing celebration chocolate cake to mark the occasion – and Pollyanna was joined by demonstrator Lynda Chapman and presenter Dean Wilson to cut the cake live on air!  Dean hosted Pollyanna’s first ever show on the channel – and also stars with Pollyanna in their infamous ‘Strictly come Dancing’ clip which has featured twice on ‘It’ll be Alright on the Night’!  If you haven’t seen it, then do check out the clip on Pollyanna’s facebook page….

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“I can’t believe that I have been filming at Create and Craft for three years” Pollyanna commented – “when I was invited to do the first programme I thought it was a one-off!”  However Pollyanna’s wildlife images are so loved by crafters that her artwork is now the most popular licensed brand to be featured on the Channel, and she visits the studios every time a new product is launched.

She has already been booked for a series of shows throughout 2017, with lots of exciting new launches in the pipeline – including a Pollyanna Pickering Magazine featuring craft projects and features about the artwork which inspired the paintings.

The channel also asked Pollyanna to film a video diary while she was travelling through Australia, so look out for clips form her journey in forthcoming programmes.

Create and Craft is the UK’s first dedicated craft TV channel, broadcasting 24 hours a day with live shows from 8am – 10pm. Watch at Sky 674 | Freeview 36 | Virgin 748 | Freesat 813 or live online at www.createandcraft.tv

Pollyanna becomes Patron of Wildaid

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Pollyanna is delighted to have accepted the role of Patron to National Charity WildAid.

WildAid’s mission is to raise awareness of the issues faced by British wildlife by promoting understanding and respect for our natural environment through education. The charity believes that British wildlife is vital for our society, culture and economy, enriching all our lives and enhancing our health and well-being. They are concerned that now more than ever we are taking from nature more than we are putting back, leaving less for ourselves and for future generations.   Natural resources are being pushed beyond their thresholds and the human impact on our native wildlife accounts for thousands of casualties each year threatening their existence, and their habitats.  In our lifetime many species may disappear, yet very little is done to raise awareness of the threats to British wildlife.

WildAid was first established as a wildlife rescue centre and developed into one of the U.K’s most active centres of its kind.  The WildAid team have an extensive range of knowledge and experience in the environmental and education fields.  WildAid is now committed to focussing on the welfare of British wildlife by delivering grass roots projects and activities for young people.  With unique partnerships and focus on native wildlife they are able to deliver powerful and informative activities, connecting thousands of people with the natural world each year. WildAid also advocates the welfare of wildlife internationally. Through campaigns they raise awareness of the plight of wildlife exploited through trade and crime and brought into the U.K.

To find out more about their work, and for information about the many events they are organising this year – from bat walks to beach combing – visit www.wildaid.co.uk

Pollyanna continues to act as patron of several other organisations including The Born Free Foundation, The Badger Trust, Raptor Rescue, Cats in Need, Naturewatch, The ABC Animal Sanctuary and FABLE who raise funds for epilepsy sufferers. Earlier this year, she accepted the role of patron to the Howarth Gallery Artist’s Studios. Internationally, Pollyanna acts as UK ambassador for the Australian organisation Wildlife Warriors while locally she is honorary president of the Dronfield Natural History and Wildlife Society and the North Derbyshire Animal Support group.

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Pollyanna Hunts for a Bargain….

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Did you spot Pollyanna bidding during an episode of BBC1’s popular show Bargain Hunt in June? The programme features teams of amateur collectors who have an hour at an antiques fair in which to acquire the best bargains possible with £300.  Their purchases are then sent to auction, and the team who makes the biggest profit (or more frequently the least loss!) wins.

Antiques expert and auctioneer Charles Hanson is a regular on the programme.  In March he contacted Pollyanna to let her know that one of the Bargain Hunt teams was bringing a very special item to one of his auctions – and he just knew she would be the perfect person to give it a home…. A life size gorilla!  And of course he was correct – Pollyanna won the competitive bidding to become the proud owner of the gorilla – pictured above with Charles after the filming.

The gorilla has been repainted, and is now in pride of place in Pollyanna’s garden. Visitors to the exhibitions in Pollyanna’s private gallery are always welcome to explore her garden – which is also home to two more gorillas, as well as life size sculptures of rhinos, giraffes, wildebeest, warthogs and an elephant – and much more! The gorilla has of course been renamed Charles…..

Renowned for his flamboyant manner of auctioneering, Charles has auctioned off many memorable items throughout his career – everything from selling cricketer Darren Gough’s winning costume from Strictly Come Dancing through to Chinese Imperial vases and even Queen Victoria’s bloomers!  However he told us that this is the very first time that a gorilla has gone under his hammer.

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Pollyanna is Firefighter for a Day!

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Pollyanna and her daughter Anna-Louise tried their hands at a brand new career in May– they spent a day alongside the fire-fighters at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Aston Park fire station.
They were the winning bidders for the fire-fighter experience day at an Age UK charity auction held at Aston Hall Hotel last autumn. Pollyanna was attending the gala dinner in her role as a Patron of Rotherham’s Gallery Town Art Project – and couldn’t resist bidding for this unique lot!
The fire-fighters were delighted to welcome the intrepid duo to the station. The day included a tour of the station and a look at the fire engines and all the equipment on board, along with trying on the fire-fighters uniform and wearing the breathing apparatus. They experienced the thrill of being raised up in the ‘cherry picker’ a hydraulic lifting platform, and even tried their hand at dismantling wrecked cars using the specialised lifting and spreading equipment.
Aston Park is a full time station situated just off Junction 31 of the M1. The station area is mainly rural but does cover a number of industrial estates and some residential areas

Station Manager Paul Bragger said; “It was a pleasure to meet Pollyanna and Anna-Louise and show them around our station and give them an insight in to the day to day running of a fire station. Fire stations remain important parts of local communities so beyond our core emergency response and prevention work, it’s important to be able to give people an insight into our work.”
Following her day with the fire-fighters, Pollyanna commented “It was absolutely fascinating to see behind the scenes at a working fire station and I was so impressed by the skill, bravery and dedication of the whole team.”

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