Passionate About... Animal Welfare
Our house was filled with animals from the day I was born and over the years we seemed to be a magnet for local waifs and strays. The list of strays is quite impressive, including a parrot, a canary, budgies, guinea pigs, a rabbit, a tortoise and a pony. Imagine my dad’s surprise when he looked out of the kitchen window one morning and saw a pony in the garden!
Since I started my career in television I have worked with some fabulous animal welfare charities and have become a Patron of the ones described below. I firmly believe that animals are friends – not food or fashion!
I have been a patron of Viva! since it started over 25 years ago. It was founded by Juliet Gellatley (a force to be reckoned with!) who is still at the helm today. Viva! carry out ground-breaking investigation work into cruel animal practices both in the UK and abroad. They also have amazing resources on their website for anyone who is, or is thinking of, becoming vegan.
The Vegan Society
I don’t eat animals and I don’t wear them and am therefore proud to be a Patron of The Vegan Society. The vegan boom hasn’t come a day too early for humans, animals and the planet, and I’m delighted that The Vegan Society is busier and more popular than it has ever been!
The vegan arm of The Vegetarian Society is one that I am really proud to have been associated with for so long. I have had some great times at their wonderful cookery school and my mum has been enjoying their magazine for years. Dropping meat for a vegetarian diet is often the first step to becoming vegan, so if that could be you this is a good place to start.
The Humane Research Trust
This was the very first charity that asked me if I would become a Patron and I am truly honoured to be associated with the humane research that they fund. My prize money for winning Celebrity Ready Steady Cook was donated to them and they are constantly proving that experimenting on animals for any reason should be a thing of the past. My husband Gary Webster is also a Patron of The Humane Research Trust.
My husband Gary is also a Patron of the Trust
As a young teenager I remember being at school and seeing an Animal Aid leaflet that somebody had brought in. Animal Aid was the first animal welfare charity that I remember becoming aware of and it was a real honour some decades later to be asked to join them as a Patron.
Pictured here hosting the Animal Aid Art & Poetry competition in London
Mane Chance Horse Sanctuary
I am a Patron of the Mane Chance Horse Sanctuary which is located near Guildford in Surrey and was founded by my friend Jenny Seagrove. Jenny is a busy actress but always has time for the animals. The sanctuary welcomes visitors and they do amazing work for horses and humans alike.
With Jenny, filming for the Mane Chance sanctuary open day
With a global reach, Naturewatch Foundation has been speaking out on behalf of animals for some 30 years. They launched World Animal Day back in 2003 and they produce the iconic Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide. They do lots more so check out the website! I was thrilled to become a Patron and it’s always an honour to support their work.
Wetnose Animal Aid
I have had many adventures with Wetnose Animal Aid, from hosting the Annual Wetnose Awards to travelling abroad and seeing some of the projects they help to fund. Wetnose help the small animal charities that don’t have the time and resources to fundraise for themselves, and many small rescues would be lost without them.
It’s always a joy to host the Annual Wetnose Awards.
Picture: Martin Clunes at the Wetnose Awards with our boys, Jack and Freddie
Founded by Alison Standbridge, Paws2Rescue is a UK based charity who do educational and rescue work in Romania, primarily focusing on the problems of the stray dog population. I travelled with them to Bucharest and soon found myself adopting a puppy who would otherwise have been put to sleep. I felt compelled to return to film the stories of some of the dogs Paws2Rescue have helped to save. This turned into a TV series for Together TV called Brits Rescue Romanian Dogs. Fellow Patrons Ricky Gervais and Samantha Janis helped with the promotion of the series which got us off to a great start.
Watch the promo by clicking the link below: https://www.togethertv.com/brits-rescue-romanian-dogs-promo
Animal Lifeline is a dog rescue centre based in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent. They always have plenty of canines of all shapes and sizes awaiting their chance to find a new home, so if you live in the area and can offer a dog a place in your family please do get in touch.
Visiting the kennels and chatting to one of the residents
I Also Support...
Also pictured with Oliver to highlight the routine killing of animals ‘no longer required’ by laboratories.
At an International Cat Care open day in Stoke-on-Trent
Our rescue guinea pig from the Mayhew
At a demo outside Parliament
A beautiful fox in our garden