“Are you sure we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream,” we at ForRangers turn to Shakespeare in an attempt to describe how we feel following Tuesday’s hugely successful event. The first annual ForRangers charity dinner and auction, which took place at the historic London venue Honourable Artillery Company’s Armoury House, exceeded our wildest expectations raising approximately £190,000.00
The wonderful pairing of Vicky Lightowler and Bernice Maxwell from Prestige Events and BStyled dedicated their time to realise the imagination of the ForRangers team making the event spectacular; a glowing emerald delight with beautiful table decorations and bespoke table favours including a ForRangers medal.
After welcome drinks guests sat down to a 3-course meal interspersed with some fantastic speeches. First up was ForRangers Ambassador, Phil Vickery, England Rugby Legend, Celebrity Masterchef winner and founder of Raging Bull Clothing, who welcomed guests and initiated a 1 minute silence for all lost Rangers.
For Rangers Co-Founder and former Chief Conservation officer at Borana conservancy, Sam Taylor, was next up and he regaled diners with how ForRangers came about and how his fantastically supportive wife, Flick, ensured he went through with his brags and completed the Marathon Des Sables, attempting to become healthy in the process! He tells how ForRangers has transformed from a bunch of running reprobates into a global reason to put oneself through pain.
Ian Craig, who spearheaded the formation of the Northern Rangelands Trust as well as carving out practises that would ensure rhinos’ safety and habitat protection in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (formally Ngare Sergoi, 1983-1995), captivated the guests with his experiences and how ForRangers is having a positive impact on the ground.
Special thanks were given to Philip and Carine Ihenacho, without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible; he kindly donated the initial funding that allowed the dream of organising a ForRangers charity dinner to begin.
Also, thanks to Shaun Leavy, founder of communications company Kinetic Six, for his role in facilitating this event.
Perhaps the most exciting part of organising this event was being able to invite five rangers from Kenyan wildlife conservancies Borana, Lewa, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi and Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) to show our appreciation for all that they do in wildlife protection.
In a heart-wrenching speech given by Chief Ranger at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Edward Ndiritu, guests learnt about his experiences and how ForRangers is helping in the field. Edward was bestowed the honour of Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award 2015 following his work in anti-poaching.
On behalf of the Ranger team, a special gift of a giant framed photograph “Ranger on Patrol” was given to ForRangers Co-Founder, Peter Newland. Pete’s ongoing dedication to anti-poaching efforts both partaking in enduring ultra-marathons (most recently the Brecon Beacons Ultra just 4 days before this event(!)) to raise money and awareness and actually training Rangers on the ground, using his extensive military and medical knowledge as well as providing essential life skills.
It must be remembered that the job of a Ranger is dangerous and arduous and on a daily basis they patrol vast areas to track the animals they protect and are frequently shot at by poachers. To date, since 2003, over 1000 Rangers have been lost in the line of duty, leaving behind wives and children and ForRangers work tirelessly to support them, boost morale and let them know they are not alone in their plight.
After speeches Phil Vickery took to the stage with Sky Sports presenter, Alex Payne, and proudly reminded everyone that on this exact date in 2003 he lifted the world cup for England in Australia, before leading the auction. Their comedic banter managed to extract £100K from guests.
Bronzes, donated by Murray Grant, of an Elephant and Rhino were purchased by Andy Majerus and Michael Spencer respectively. Two once in a lifetime safari experiences, donated by Africa Born (part of the Kerr & Downey group), were purchased by Mike Hart and Tim Scales. A set of Say Yes to Adventure magazines, published by ForRangers member Hollie Woodhouse, was purchased by Polly Taylor. Multi-award winning documentary photographer, David Chancellor, donated a signed print of dancing Samburu that was purchased by Eva Ladipo. A“Batleur Eagle” drawing was kindly donated by eminent wildlife artist, Martin Aveling, and was purchased by Duncan Wales. Finally, ‘Mean Buff’ artwork was purchased by Mark Osborne. Kindly donated by Mike Ghaui, the sculpture and painting were crafted by Mike, who spent his life painting and sculpting the rich diversity found in East Africa spurred on by his love of the continent.
It is with sad regret we announce that Mike’s wife Debbie sadly passed away just 3 days before the event and our thoughts go out to Mike and the Ghaui family.
A special mention must also be given to Stefan Cessar, who with overwhelming generosity donated funds to raise the auction total to £100,000.
Following the auction, guests were treated to the audiovisual talents of Martin Buzora, photographer and film-maker, with his Rangers video, which was showcased at the Edinburgh International Festival 2016, courtesy of DNA Media. Its potent message about the anti-poaching struggle left the room silent and can be viewed on our home page.. Seated next to Martin was acting legend, James Cosmo, who is keen to get involved with ForRangers and was in awe of the amazing work the team are undertaking.
The evening was captured on digital media by up and coming photographer, Alex Goulding, taking over 400 photographs, which will be available for viewing shortly. Sound was provided by West Ent Ltd, Hereford.
This could not have been achieved without the support of all our guests and generous donors. We would like to say a special thank you to Michael and Sarah Spencer, Rita Cabases, Diane Higginbotham-McNab, Michael and Susan Harte, Ian and Jane Craig, Carl and Chania Tundo, Mike Ghaui, Michael and Nicky Dyer, Joe and Minnie McHale, David Stulb, John King and Nigel Winser.
We would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support from the following organisations; Raging Bull, Chelsea Group, AUREE Jewellery, Kinetic Six, Motorola, Airsys, Hard Shell, 51 Degrees, Conservation International, African Parks, Likeys, The New Zealand Sock Co, Extreme Adventure Food, Swazi, Guerney Goo, Thir, Alt-Berg, Castle Denmark, Ariat , Say Yes To Adventure and HR4K.
ForRangers would also like to thank the guests and runners that attended from as far as New Zealand and the USA.
It was an honour to have representatives of major conservation charities Space for Giants, Save the Rhino International and Tusk, without whom ForRangers wouldn’t be where it is today.
We can only hope that our next event is as successful as this and ongoing support is essential in the anti-poaching fight. For anyone that would like to get involved with ForRangers, be it as a supporter or to partake in ultra-events, please use the link at www.forrangers.com .
We are always looking for new people and have most recently recruited Team GB cyclist, Annasley Park. Annasley is currently on the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme and is set for great things at the next Olympics.
We are excited about growing our following and so far we have Running For Rangers, (Horse) Riding For Rangers, (Bike) Riding For Rangers and Rowing For Rangers...we are as big as your imagination and together we can support the Rangers and protect our world’s endangered wildlife.