Patron & Ambassadors

Our Patron


Profile image for HRH THE PRINCESS ROYAL

The Princess Royal became Patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature in 1999. Her Royal Highness attends and speaks at many of our events, including our annual Whitley Awards ceremony. The Princess Royal has also visited our winners in their home countries, to see their work first-hand. Most recently Her Royal Highness visited Associate Whitley Award winner, Dr Xianfeng Zhang in China, visiting the Institute of Hydrobiology to see conservation efforts for the protection of the endangered finless porpoise.

Her Royal Highness says of our work:

“WFN is a direct funding charity that really does minimise the bits in-between. The funding goes straight to the winners, who have a lasting impact on global, national and political levels.”




Alastair Fothergill is a director of Silverback Films Ltd and series producer of Netflix’s Our Planet. He is the executive producer of BBC One series ‘Perfect Planet’, Disneynature film ‘Penguin’, and is behind 5 of the top 10 grossing natural history cinema films ever. Alastair joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1983 and was appointed Head of the Unit in November 1992, aged 32. His collaborations with Sir David Attenborough include ‘The Trials of Life’, ‘Life in the Freezer’, ‘The Blue Planet’, ‘Frozen Planet’, ‘Planet Earth’ and its companion feature film ‘Earth’. In November 2012, Alastair left the BBC to set up his own production company Silverback Films. He is a fellow of the Royal Television Society and of the Royal Geographic Society, who awarded him their gold medal in 2012, and has honorary doctorates from the University of Durham, Bristol, Hull and York St. John.


Profile image for TOM HEAP

Tom Heap is a television and radio presenter. He is best known as an investigative journalist on BBC1’s Countryfile, is the principal voice of Costing the Earth on BBC Radio 4 (on which he interviewed WFN Gold Award winner, Hotlin Ompusunggu), and is a regular Panorama reporter covering food, farming, energy and wildlife. Tom has appeared on Celebrity Mastermind and Pointless, raising money for WFN, and in 2017 he was the host of the Whitley Awards ceremony.


Profile image for KATE HUMBLE

Kate Humble is a television presenter and author. She has presented television programmes including Springwatch, Lambing Live, Countryfile, Curious Creatures and Animal Park. She also runs ‘Humble by Nature’ a rural skills school on a working farm in the Wye Valley. Kate has hosted several of our Award ceremonies and events, including our 2017 talk ‘A River Below: The Fight for the Pink River Dolphin’.


Robin is an international environmentalist and businessman. Robin was one of the founders of Elephant Family. He has worked extensively on conservation issues in general and has been a leader in the nexus between corporate conservation philanthropy in the U.K. and environmental organisations. Robin has been coming to the Whitley Awards for several years and has become a great Ambassador for the charity.