A Brussels bar owner and one of her loyal customers will run 20k around the city on 7 October to help continue the work of George and Joy Adamson, made famous by the book and movie Born Free.
Neither Kelly Steel (who runs the bar Mini Louise) nor Paul Hanley are runners. In fact, Kelly says she would “happily get in the car to go to the end of the street”.
But the pair are now out running nearly every day to raise cash for lion cubs in Kenya.
Here’s a bit of background: The charity is called George Adamson’s Wildlife
Preservation Trust, and the lion cub unit at Kora National Park in Kenya is
being run by Tony Fitzjohn.
‘Fitz‘worked for 18 years with George and Joy - who raised the orphaned lion cub Elsa, before eventually returning her to the wild.
After Adamson died, his camp (at Kora) closed down but it has happily now been re-opened by Fitz and his crew.
They are taking care of Mugi, named after the lake he nearly drowned in before he was rescued – and he‘s the first lion cub in 24 years to benefit from the programme. One day, hopefully, Mugi will be released to start his own pride. But, before that, he’ll be joined by two young lionesses currently living in an orphanage. Without the programme, there’s no way the trio would ever be returned to the wild.
As readers probably know, lions are on the endangered species list and are still being poached and poisoned.
This, and her general love of all animals, is what persuaded vegetarian Kelly to get in shape to dash for cash.
She told Bxlin30Days: “In front of astonished customers, Paul and I decided we were going to run to raise money for lion cubs in Kenya. It must have been a full moon but it seemed like an absolutely brilliant idea.
“For a couple of fitness-avoidance types like us it’s going to be a bit of a challenge. We’re in training every morning and I’ve only been sick twice. OK, three times.
“And I’ve certainly turned a few heads while bombing up Avenue Louise in my pyjama bottoms - an easy mistake to make bleary eyed at eight in the morning.
“Any money you can donate - and any bit of help you can give to spread the word - will be deeply appreciated by ourselves, Fitz and of course the lion cubs!”