Friday, June 14, 2024

Simon Cowell: TV presenter and conservationist dies

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By Jacob PanonsBBC News, South East

Wildlife Aid Foundation  Simon Cowell with a badgerWildlife Aid Foundation

Simon Cowell was awarded an MBE in 2005

A TV presenter and conservationist from Surrey has died after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer.

Founder and CEO of the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) in Leatherhead, and presenter of Wildlife SOS, Simon Cowell died at the age of 72 on Sunday.

He dedicated his life to wildlife and worked to ensure countless injured and orphaned animals were given a second chance in the wild.

His family said: “He was passionate about the importance of environmental education and hopeful for a future in which man respects and protects the natural world.”

‘Sweary David Attenborough’

The WAF says it will continue Mr Cowell’s work and legacy from its Surrey base under the leadership of his daughter, Lou Cowell.

Ms Cowell, who described her father as a “sweary David Attenborough”, told BBC Radio Surrey that his presence was in “every single atom” of the charity.

“I can feel him already patrolling the grounds, making sure everything is going alright.”

She said the support the family had received since his diagnosis was shared in 2022 was “nothing short of overwhelming and just beautiful”.

Wildlife Aid Foundation  Simon CowellWildlife Aid Foundation

Mr Cowell founded the Wildlife Aid Foundation

Mr Cowell, who had an aggressive form of lung cancer, began rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in his home and garden in the early 1980s as a distraction from his job as a broker in London.

The hobby became a full-time job and he established Wildlife Aid as a charity in 1987, which is now the WAF.

Mr Cowell campaigned to raise awareness of the plight of wildlife as well as the importance of all species and was awarded an MBE in 2005.

He also developed iDot, an initiative which encouraged people to undertake positive environmental actions.

The idea that everyone should do one action a day for nature underpinned his dying wish to create a new home for the charity he built.

This project, the Wildlife Aid Centre, is being developed and fundraising continues.

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