In a typically passionate speech, Prince William said: “We must take action. On the ground, we must help educate growing populations in Africa who live alongside these creatures and benefit from their economic value. I’m proud to say that Tusk specialises in this.”
Following confirmation that the Duke will appear in China State TV’s October broadcast on the illegal wildlife trade, he sent a clear message to the fund-raising audience that “The illegal slaughter of elephants and rhino for their horns is barbaric, and it is not stylish to be associated with it.”
The Duke added “Tusk is one of the world’s leading charities in its field – its expertise is second to none, its commitment to the cause undiminished, and its ability to get things actually done on the ground is unparalleled. That’s a hard act to pull off, but Tusk does it.”
Prince William introduced a short video message from Sir David Attenborough, who he describes as “a man who has devoted his life to the cause of wildlife, and who has inspired generations of conservationists, myself included.” Sir David added his own special thanks to Tusk for twenty-five ground-breaking years in the field.
Committed to creating a sustainable future for Africa’s natural heritage, Tusk aims to raise a record £5 million in 2015. Tonight’s 25th Anniversary Ball will be the year’s biggest single fund-raiser and thanks to the generosity of the event’s main partner and long-standing supporter, Land Rover, the charity is now close to reaching its ambitious target.
Chaired by Tusk patron, Deborah Meaden, guests included her fellow Dragon’s Den panelists, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis and Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, Joss Stone whose memorable live performance was the high point of the evening. Also at Syon House to celebrate the charity’s remarkable achievements were Kate Silverton, Eammon Holmes & Ruth Langsford, Martin Bayfield, Simon King, Nitin Sawney and Don McCullin.
Charlie Mayhew, CEO and co-founder of Tusk, said, “Whilst we are thrilled to celebrate this significant milestone for the charity, the current poaching crisis is a stark reminder that our work is not complete. The next twenty-five years will be a defining period for the survival of an increasing number of Africa’s iconic and much-loved species.”
The champagne and wines were kindly supplied by Justerini & Brooks and the Tusk 25th anniversary-inspired cocktails by Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray. Tusk would also like to thank the luxury tour operator, Scott Dunn for their invaluable support.