Being involved in a show as hugely popular as Downton Abbey, gave the cast the opportunity to get involved with all kinds of charities, in the hope that we could shine a light on them and maybe help. I was told 160 million people in China watched the show, and offered to go to Animal Asia’s sanctuary in China to raise awareness. I have now been 4 times, and my experiences there have been life-changing for me! I have subsequently become a UK ambassador for them – a role I proudly share with fellow actor, Peter Egan.

I also became an ambassador for Medical Detection Dogs when they were fairly new and unknown – similarly, the people I have met, and the work I have witnessed has been mind-blowing.

It’s an honour to be part of their lives, if you feel you can support them that would be hugely appreciated … Thank you, Lesley

ANIMALS ASIA

Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam. We promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change.

Founded in 1998, the Animals Asia team has been rescuing moon bears since 1994 and is the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. Our founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, Dr.med.vet. h.c., is widely recognised as the world’s leading expert on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.

Today,  Animals Asia has rescued over 400 bears, caring for them at its award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. From its small beginnings in Hong Kong, Animals Asia has grown into a respected international NGO with over 300 staff and offices in Australia, China, Germany, Italy, the UK, US and Vietnam.

animalsasia.org

MEDICAL DETECTION DOGS

Medical Detection Dogs is a charity that works in partnership with researchers, NHS Trusts and Universities to train specialist dogs to detect the odour of human disease.

Dogs are renowned for their incredible sense of smell and have 300 million receptors in their noses compared with the 5 million that humans have.

Cancer cells release small amounts of volatile substances. Cancer Detection Dogs are being trained to detect these volatiles and they hope that this work and research will enable scientists to develop an early cancer screening system.

Their Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to assist individuals who manage complex medical conditions on a day to day basis. Their dogs are taught to identify the odour changes that are associated with certain medical events.

medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk