Thursday, 27 November 2014

Animal Hero Awards 2014

A few weeks ago I was amazed and excited to be nominated for the Animal Hero Awards 2014 in the category Young Animal Enthusiast.

Now I'm sure many of you will have been to London before, however I have never been, so that made the journey to London for the awards even more exciting. We traveled down by train yesterday through lots of misty murk, but that didn't stop me seeing a massive flock of Fieldfare flitting across the fields. I also spotted a great looking wetland area just a bit north of Stafford. I need to find out where it is because there were a few hides on the site. Maybe one of you knows where this might be.

We arrived in London in plenty of time and enjoyed a taxi ride to the hotel. That London really is a big place, but our hotel was next to Hyde Park so I could still see lots of green and trees.

And then it was time to get ready for the big event. I couldn't just slip any old clothes on for the event, instead I was wearing a suit, a "lifer" for me. 

The awards were held at the Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel which is probably the poshest place I have ever been in. When we arrived there were police horses, people from the forces, stars, dogs and all sorts standing round a big red carpet.

When we got in there was a champagne reception which was great for mum and dad, but Harley and I had an orange juice reception.  I must mention a lovely couple called Mr & Mrs Boddie who we got talking to and who were very supportive. 

It was suddenly time to go in to the ballroom for dinner. The room was huge and shining a kingfisher blue colour.

Before the awards started, Harley decided to go and talk to Brian May about electric guitars. I went to join them and had a great conversation about badgers and Hen Harriers. I even ringed Brian with one of my WildeAboutBirds wrist bands!

After tea it was time for the main event and just enough time to check that there was no tomato soup on my shirt! I didn't know who else had been nominated in my group until we arrived at the event, but it was great to hear about them when Amanda Holden read out the information about why we had all been nominated. Eager anticipation was  building inside me, and of course even if I didn't win, it still felt great to be recognised alongside some amazing animal heros.  

It was then time to hear the words....and the winner is..........Dominik Reynolds.

And do you know what, I honestly didn't feel at all disappointed, I just felt really happy for Dominik, especially after hearing everything he has done. I also thought, I really need to meet him, so I went to find him after all the awards were announced to say well done.

On the way back we found out Dominik was staying at the same hotel as us, so when we all came back in from the coach we all had a drink together and talked about all our wildlife goings on. We swapped emails and stuff and it's great to have found another young wildlife enthusiast to talk to.

The morning after that brilliant evening, we all decided we needed to see more of London, so we decided to take a ride on the open top bus tour ride. Now I've got to be honest it was freezing up there, but we managed to see some beautiful landmarks. I did keep thinking though, how are we ever going to change things with all these people rushing around and chasing things that wont make them really properly happy. 

But back to landmarks, such a variety including The Shard, The Gerkin, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square (with a big blue chicken in the middle), Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament (no Elizabeth Truss sighted, no doubt hiding away preparing to cull something).

So overall a brilliant two days;  new scenery and new friends.

A massive thank you to the Kate Whitehead at the RSPB for nominating me. I really am grateful for even being considered for the awards.  And of course a massive thank you to the RSPCA and The Daily Mirror for putting on such a brilliant and inspiring event.

But I would like to finish with a thank you to Bill Oddie for the fabulous speech he made. He talked about the attacks that various NGOs were being faced with by people who support the shooting community. He asked everyone to continue to support the NGOs and recognise the positive difference they are trying to make. I like that Bill Oddie.


I will leave you with some famous faces:


  1. that's truly awesome, findlay! congratulations for being nominated for such an honor, and for meeting up with like-minded young folks like yourself!

  2. WOW! and WOW! again Firstly congratulation for being nominated. This was indeed an wonderful adventure for you and our family. it was great you meet up with the winner and I know both of you now will remain great friends and be able to help and encourage each other in regards to nature. You certainly meet some influential people at the 'do' and you looks very smart.

  3. That's looks an amazing experience mate, see you soon and WWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Well done! And a great day out too. You got closer to Brian May than I will in a couple of months when we go to see Queen, bet he liked Harley chatting guitars to him.
    Did you spot Tower 42 where thee Urban Birder does his vis migging from?

    Well done again


  5. PS I think your Stafford reserve is Doxey Marshes

  6. Well done Findley, looks like you had a great time. Harry Christmas cards arrived yesterday, now just got to decide which 10 lucky people are going to receive them, Liz Truss will be first on the list. Keep up the great work.

  7. Well done Findlay, I reckon it must have made Brian May's day, meeting you. Did Harley give him a few tips about guitar playing?

    I've a tip for Harley. When Brian's dad made him a guitar, he ended up playing it from the roof of Buckingham Palace. Now there's a thought, Nigel!

    Keep up the good work, Findlay - you're an inspiration!

    Best regards to you all - - - Richard

  8. Wow Findlay, for a first visit to London you certainly did it in style!

    You didn't get an award this time but I'm sure that this will be rectified before too long and you'll soon be racking them up, you deserve them!

    I've just had a thought...your 'famous people I've met' list must be rivaling your bird list now?...[;o)

  9. Findlay, you are a winner, you look so smart too. Well done.


  10. A massive congratulations for just being nominated between yourself and Dominik's huge efforts this year I hope Mrs.Truss response seems a bit churlish now, did you say hello to that huge big white dog?

  11. An incredible day Findlay, and well deserved. The first of many to come I reckon.

  12. Well done Finn. No one can doubt your enthusiasm or dedication. Next year mate. Next year 😃

  13. A massive well done Findlay! Shame you didn't win, but to get right through to the finals is an amazing achievement. When someone asked me if I had any ideas for the nominations, you were the first person to spring to mind. I met you briefly at the Peak District Hen Harrier day, but I first became aware of your work when you made the video about the badger cull, entitled 'Is it safe to come out yet?' The video really did move me, and i've followed your blog ever since. Keep up with the good work... our badgers, hen harriers and wildlife in general need passionate advocates such as yourself x

  14. Well done Findlay! Nice blog. I'm envious of you meeting Brian May.

    That wetland does look good doesn't it? I always look out for birds there - mostly Canada Geese as you whizz past but I have seen Shoveler too. And the M6 crosses it as well as the railway.

    See you at the BTO conference next weekend if you aren't too starstruck to meet up with the rest of us!!

  15. Wonderful to hear you had this fantastic day Findlay..
    London is a great place to visit but I really prefer our Cheshire countryside..