WFN Founder, Edward Whitley opened the 2017 Ceremony by thanking WFN’s supporters new and old, including Tom Heap, the compere for the evening who has recently raised money for WFN by appearing on ‘Celebrity Mastermind’. Edward went on to highlight some of the achievements of previous Whitley Awards winners, including those who have appeared in recent broadcasts such as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Costing The Earth’ (2016 Gold Award winner Hotlin Ompusunggu) and feature documentary ‘A River Below’ (2007 Gold Award winner, Fernando Trujillo).

WFN Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal gave an uplifting speech highlighting the importance of WFN’s Continuation Funding programme, which enables previous Whitley Award winners to expand their successful conservation work by offering further grants of up to £70,000 over two years.  Her Royal Highness thanked donors for their ongoing support and drew attention to our desire to raise more in order to scale-up grant giving. If you have been inspired to support our work and that of our winners you can become a Friend and donate here.

Last year’s Whitley Award winner, Farwiza Farhan, closed the ceremony with a passionate speech about the positive impact of her Whitley Award and emphasised the importance of conservation optimism.