Dorchester Wildlife Ball raises around £200,000 in a fitting tribute to the life of David Shepherd

A precious working palette belonging to the late David Shepherd, together with one of his original paintings of an elephant, were just a couple of the special items which were put up for auction tonight at the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s annual Wildlife Ball at the Dorchester Hotel. The items, including other lots such as tea with Joanna Lumley, a champagne tasting experience for 16, a Top-Gun Air Combat experience and an overnight ‘stay and play’ at Hever Castle all contributed to helping the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation carry on David’s legacy of continuing to fund vital wildlife protection around the world.

Both new and long-time supporters and celebrities including cricketer David Gower, TV presenter Liz Bonin, double Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory, South African International cricketer Jacques Rudolph, RFU official anthem singer Laura Wright and Rugby player Harry Rowland joined over 400 paying guests to the black tie ‘with a touch of wild’ themed event. Some of the above having also recently announced their support for DSWF in Ambassadorial roles.*

This year’s event was especially poignant since David’s sad passing in September and in his memory a new David Shepherd Conservation Award was launched – with Sport Beattie, Founder and CEO of Game Rangers International, Zambia, being the worthy recipient!

“I feel totally honoured to have won this prestigious award by such a great man and I accept it on behalf of all of my team. It will inspire me to work harder and do better things for conservation. I’ll never forget David, he’s a man who helped change my life.”

A moving tribute was paid to David Shepherd by trustee Nigel Colne and through an engaging and entertaining film of his life, whilst other, more recent footage of him was seen later on in the evening in a compilation based around the inspiration behind the artwork created by his grand-daughter Emily Lamb. David was seen starting the very piece that was in the room – a stunning artwork by Emily called ‘Within a World’ comprising of 10 x 8 foot high panels in a 360 degree installation based on her personal journey, growing up within the world of conservation and art.

Emily was joined at the event by 4 of DSWF’s 5 other new DSWF Art Ambassadors: photographer James Kydd, graphic artist David Filer, sculptor Simon Max Bannister and painter, Mandy Shepherd, who all recently exhibited at Christie’s and generously donated some of their amazing artwork for the auction tonight.

It was an evening of poignant tears and laughter – with amazing music from mezzo soprano soloist Laura Wright after a sumptuous dinner and also dancing to a live band after the auction. Guests were still dancing until the early hours and everyone said what a truly memorable evening it’s been.

In the words of one of David’s daughters, and DSWF Chairman of the Trustees, Melanie Lamb ‘’It was a sensational tribute to Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of the whole Foundation team.”