Virginia McKenna Picks the Winner

At the end of the Wildness Celebration Day, held in Pollyanna's gallery in Derbyshire, Born Free Founder Virginia McKenna joined Pollyanna to draw the winning tickets in the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation Prize Draw.

The lucky winner of an original painting of snow leopards was Wendy Davis of Derbyshire. A further ten runner’s up won prizes of signed limited editions, books and other prizes.

During the event Pollyanna was able to present Virginia with a cheque for £3,200 – a ‘running total’ of a percentage of sales from the preceding exhibition, along with event ticket and draw ticket sales to date.

Following the launch day, the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation was able to send an additional cheque for £1,003.56 – a combination of a percentage of sales made in the gallery during the event, along with further prize draw ticket sales and donations made on the day, giving a final total raised of £4203.56. Pollyanna commented “We are delighted to be able to present Born Free with this amount from the book launch – and it is wonderful to think that the second edition Wildness book will continue to raise funds for wildlife conservation and welfare.”

The initial £3,200.00 raised was donated to help to fund the rescue of a lion cub named Kebri. Stephen Brend, the Born Free project director in Ethiopia told us his story : Last December, in Kebri Dehar in the badlands of eastern Ethiopia, where the country borders Somalia, a lioness killed a camel. Angry villagers poisoned the lioness in retaliation. That left two orphaned lion cubs, alone in the bush. The local Ethiopian army detachment went on a search. They only found one, a tiny male. His sibling undoubtedly had died, most likely killed by hyenas.

The army took the cub back to their barracks and did an amazing job of hand-rearing him. But five months later ‘Kebri’ had grown to the size of a Rottweiler and had the teeth to match. The army could no longer cope and said if he was not moved in the next few days, they would be forced to shoot him.”

Born Free undertook one of their biggest challenges yet. A lion rescue is normally planned well in advance, giving them time to raise funds and get everything organised. Kebri’s rescue had to be done in just a handful of days, in a remote, unfamiliar and unpredictable part of Ethiopia, well off the beaten track. There was nothing easy about this rescue! -and the Foreign Office advises against all travel to the area…

But Born Free knew that they were the cub’s only chance of survival and believed that they couldn’t let him down. Stephen Brend’s right-hand man Bereket Girma built a special crate to transport the young lion. Their consultant vet Dr Rea Tschopp cancelled all other work, while the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority assigned one of their vets to accompany the rescue team. Kebri Dehar is 647 miles from the Born Free rescue centre near Addis Ababa. Far too far to drive - and far too difficult. So they arranged a special deal to charter a small plane to get in and out and minimise risk, even though the area only has a dirt landing strip.

Kebri’s rescue was complicated, fraught and harrowing. The team had to remove seats from the little plane to fit the crate in. The flight was horrendous with constant turbulence. Kebri was terrified. However he was brought safely to the rescue centre, where he is currently in temporary accommodation while funds are raised to build a permanent enclosure for him.

The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation is proud to have contributed the £3000.00 needed to fund the cost of the plane hire, along with £200.00 to cover the veterinary treatment needed while Kebri was in transit. The additional money raised will go towards the cost of building his permanent home at the Born Free Sanctuary.

“Pollyanna - how can I begin to thank you? The incredibly generous cheque took my breath away, and I know I speak for all of us – especially everyone involved with Ethiopia and the Kebri rescue – when I express my gratitude. What a wonderful day the Wildness launch was – even the sun shone! The stream of happy visitors was proof, if it was needed of how much you are loved and admired. Once again I was so happy to be surrounded by your paintings and be touched by the sensitivity and perceptiveness of your work.”

Virginia Mckenna


Pollyanna Pickering Foundation Grand Draw

First Prize : 0767 : Original Painting : W. Davis, Derbyshire

Runners Up Prizes of signed limited edition prints:

2115: Heather, Doncaster
0882 : J. Marriott, Derbyshire
0647 : D. Cutts, Sheffield
0999: S. Williams, Melton Mowbray
2162 : L. Spencer, Nottingham

Runners Up Prizes of signed books & prints:

0653 : Mrs Pearson, Derbyshire
0134: J. Anderson, Derby
2136: Mrs Talbot, Derby
0828: K. Warren, Leicestershire
0350 : S. Falconer, Derbyshire