Paul O’Grady on why he’s supporting the elephant orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia

Paul OGrady with Nkala courtesy Jill Worsley
I left my heart in Lusaka at the elephant orphanage. I was lucky enough to film there two years ago and I spent nearly ten days with the elephants there and in particular a baby elephant called Nkala. His mother had been murdered by poachers and he was a very timid little chap, he kept well away from all the other elephants – he was scared of them – he wouldn’t even go in the mud. He kept himself to himself and a sort of little bond grew between us and when something like that happens it’s magical because it’s a once in a lifetime experience. It is something I will never, ever, ever forget.

I got quite involved in the place, and to tell you the truth at the end of the shoot I announced to the crew, I’m not coming home…and they said you’ve got to, you’ve got six weeks of chat shows to do … and I said anybody can do that, but this is a special job, this is something truly special. And I’ll be honest with you, it took quite a lot of persuasion to get me away from the elephants and get me on to the plane home.
But I have never, ever forgotten them and I went back last year and my boy, that’s Nkala, has grown into a big healthy, hearty, jolly elephant and he joins in all the fun. When he first saw me again after a year I thought he must have forgotten me but he hadn’t … He was like a small child at a party, he was embarrassed and hid behind the other elephants and was quite coquettish, he’d peep out to look at me. Eventually, after about half an hour, he came squeaking over and we were pals again. And again I thought; this doesn’t get any better.
Paul OGrady in teh BBC R4 studio
The work they do at the orphanage is remarkable, the bond between the keeper and the elephant is truly extraordinary and we have to help, because in ten years’ time there won’t be any wild elephants left, they’ll all be gone, along with the rhino and that’s shocking. Absolutely shocking. So we have to do everything in our power to help these creatures and to help the people who look after them.
I’m writing a children’s book about a baby elephant and a little boy – I’m going to try and do it at the end of this year – be out next year – and all the royalties will go to the orphanage. So let’s all do our bit and save the elephant.

Since 2011 an average of 20,000 African elephants have been slaughtered each year – their tusks hacked off and shipped abroad to be carved into trinkets and decorative ornaments. In the wake of this continuing illegal trade, orphaned elephants are being rescued across Africa and cared for in orphanages where resources are stretched. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) set up Zambia’s first elephant orphanage and now supports its ongoing work to rescue, rehabilitate and release these precious animals back into the wild. At the time DSWF funds community outreach and education programmes to understand the importance of elephants to their environment and also funds anti-poaching patrols in Kafue National Park to ensure a safe habitat for all elephants.

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Tsunami Kids

Going away this summer and fancy a good read? Tsunami Kids is now back in stock just in time for sitting by the pool or relaxing on the beach.

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Sasha McVeigh “I Stand Alone”

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New album to be released 8 June 2015

Meet Sasha McVeigh. An impeccably talented country singer who has taken the US country music scene by storm.

Two and a half years ago, Sasha took a two week trip to Nashville with a plan to perform a handful of shows. What resulted was two weeks of solid bookings at venues such as Tootsies Orchid Lounge, The Rutledge, The Bluebird and various others up and down Broadway. The reception she received meant Sasha subsequently returned to Nashville numerous times for extended periods in 2012 to 2014. During one of the trips, Sasha recorded her first EP made up solely of original material. Music from the acoustic EP has received airplay in the US and UK including Coast to Coast AM in the States. Sasha has also been BBC Introducing’s Artist of the Week three times.

This May, Sasha will be releasing her debut album ‘I Stand Alone’, the money for which was raised using Kickstarter, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. The album is undoubtedly personal. A collection of songs detailing the life of a young singer/songwriter who has hit the big time in a country not her own. A fresh voice which encapsulates the meaning of ‘country music’ in every way.

The catchy ‘Someone To Break My Heart’ speaks of needing a muse in the form of a heartbreaker to use as inspiration to write a decent song. The seductively rocky ‘Hot Mess’ describes the dual personalities of each person and having the urge to do something crazy and unexpected. The delightfully trademark-country ‘Time Of My Life’ describes a fond memory of a young love which oozes happiness.
In the US, Sasha has completed two successful tours in the summers of 2013 and 2014 where she performed at some of the biggest country music festivals. In April, Sasha will embark on a co-headline tour of the UK and Ireland with American singer/songwriter Sonia Leigh.
‘I Stand Alone’ is home to a selection of endearing and charming tunes that will warm the heart of any country music fan. Sasha McVeigh is on the up and this year she’s out to prove it. "These past few years have been part of a journey, a journey that's far from over,” says Sasha. “I feel incredibly blessed for all the opportunities that continue to present themselves and for the support of my fans, friends and family. There's a lot to look forward to in 2015 and I just can't wait to get started!"

UK Tour Dates
April Co-headline tour with Sonia Leigh
08/04 London, Water Rats
09/04 Bristol, The Exchange
10/04 Basildon, Culpeppers
11/04 Nottingham, The Bodega
12/04 Glasgow, Oran Mor
13/04 Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
14/04 Leicester, The Musician
15/04 Manchester, The Roadhouse
17/04 Milton Keynes, Fort San Antone
19/04 Dublin, Whelan's Upstairs
21/04 Exeter, Phoenix
22/04 Birmingham, Hare & Hounds

17/05 Dartmouth, Dart Music Festival
24/05 Hay-On-Wye, Hay Festival
29/05 Worcester, SevernSounds Festival

Listen via Soundcloud here >>>
Follow on Facebook here >>>
Follow on Twitter here >>> @sashamcveigh
Website here>>>

Calling all bird lovers to witness one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles

Leith Hill woodland in May credit John Millar 957548

Dawn Chorus Walks at Leith Hill

The National Trust has a lot to celebrate this year. From the 250th anniversary of the construction of Leith Hill Tower, to one of nature’s most beautiful delights – the dawn chorus. Forming one of the highest points in the Surrey Hills, Leith Hill is a great tapestry of rich ancient woodland and open heathland, both of which entice migratory and local birds, all of whom sing to their heart’s content at this special time of year. May mornings are especially glorious at Leith Hill as dawn comes early; its sounds echoing through the beautiful rhododendron glades and bluebell-carpeted woodland. This year the National Trust is inviting guests to join them for an early start to witness this spectacle for themselves with keen ornithologist and National Trust Ranger, Sam Bayley.
Leith Hill Tower credit John Millar 957557
Sam, Lead Ranger for Leith Hill says “Although the dawn chorus can be heard all year round, the end of April and early May is when it’s at its peak. It’s the beginning of the breeding season and our resident birds are in full song and they are joined by our returning summer visitors from Africa, all keen to stamp their claim on the variety of habitats that Leith Hill has to offer. In the Rhododendron Wood we are likely to hear and see the majority of our woodland birds such as woodpeckers, warblers, finches and thrushes, whilst up at Leith Hill Tower we may get lucky and see red kites and ravens. This time of year is very exciting for me as we wait with baited breath to see if all of our hard work over the winter months to improve habitats encourages our wildlife to thrive”.

Join Sam for a dawn chorus walk, and hot breakfast roll, on Sunday 26 April or Sunday 10 May. Both events start at 5am and last until 8am and cost £15 per person. Tickets need to be booked in advance by calling 01372 220644. Dogs on leads very welcome.

About Leith Hill
Leith Hill is the highest point in south east England and is set within the beautiful Surrey Hills. Its gothic tower rises majestically above the surrounding hills and from the top you can see sweeping views towards London in the north and the English Channel in the south. Leith Hill has been popular with visitors since the Victorian times and you can enjoy similar pastimes today but with a modern twist; visit our tower and peer through the free telescopes or follow our self-guided trails through ancient woods, the scented Rhododendron Wood and across open heathland. There’s plenty of space for family adventures and many lovely spots for picnics too. Delicious light snacks are available from our Tower’s servery. More info here >>>

About the National Trust
The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation organisations in Europe with over 1,000 sites covering 250,000 hectares, including coastal sites, woodland and upland areas; many of which are rich in wildlife. In Surrey alone, the National Trust looks after 5,620 hectares of land and 3,305 hectares of countryside. Find out more here >>>

Both images Credit John Millar

Acclaimed International Tenor, Neil Latchman, in Tango Sensuel


For ticket bookings and more information visit

Tiger trunks put the style into conservation

It’s not often that luxury, style and design flair team up to save tigers but the latest India Collection from London-born luxury men’s swimwear brand, Havelock Bay does just that.

Oozing style the ready-to-wear capsule collection features ten beautifully coloured and designed prints using premium Italian fabrics with one very special design helping support nature’s biggest style icon, the tiger.

With a passion for the endangered big cat Havelock Bay founder, Florence Wilson, has teamed up with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s TigerTime Campaign to help raise funds and awareness for the plight of the wild tiger.
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“There’s no reason why conservation and luxury goods can’t go hand-in-hand and with as few as 3,000 tigers left in the wild I wanted to make my contribution to their survival,” says Wilson.

All profits from the TigerTime trunks will support tiger conservation projects in India, Thailand and Russia that help safeguard 20% of the world’s remaining wild tiger population.

Beautifully packaged in gift boxes the tiger trunks are £110.00 (+p&p) come in four sizes and are available to buy online at:

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Angela Lizon's Menagerie of paintings combine for a disquieting and humorous show

Angela Lizon revels in combining unlikely and surprising images within her paintings, and intriguing new works will be unveiled in her solo show Menagerie.

Curated by Coates and Scarry at Gallery 8, Duke Street St James, London, Menagerie opens Monday 20 April. In Menagerie, Lizon’s highly distinctive menagerie of works, cats can be seen wearing Native American headdresses, pugs sport paper doily collars, paying homage to the Jacobean neck ruff and babies cavort on the backs of ostriches.

Such juxtapositions give her familiar, well-loved and often kitsch subjects unsettling and often humorous qualities. Straightforward images of an animal or a child are completely transformed into paintings which are less sentimental, more complex, supremely unnerving and almost otherworldly.

Her placement of cheap theatrical accessories, plastic props and nylon costumes or a bold change in scale metamorphoses these diverse images of people and pets. Working originally from the kitsch, girlish imagery that could be found within her daughter’s bedroom posters, a simple magnification in scale enables a conversion from the small and innocuous into the monstrous.

This effect can be seen in the over-sized, glass-eyed guinea pigs that accompany a tiny ballet dancer in several works or the enormous overbred flat-faced cats, a motif to which the artist returns repeatedly.
Lizon’s painting process often begins with a photographic image which is subtly manipulated to achieve a specific kind of tension and the painter cites Eastern European fairy-tales and her Catholic upbringing as instrumental to the shaping, style and subject of her unique painting practice.

In particular, her images of children seem to echo the famous seventeenth-century paintings of the Spanish royal family’s children by Diego Velázquez, in their striking contrast between their youthful, cherubic faces and the absurd, over-elaborate decoration of the clothes.
In other of her recent paintings, ceramic figurines are prominent. Lizon says of these figures “These are items which are valued, treasured and sometimes reviled as expressions of personal identity, taste and class. Such ornaments are mass produced and often end their lives in charity shops. The journey from treasure to trash, and the memories within that, fascinate me.”

Lizon elevates their status by assembling tiny paintings of these figurines to resemble the large group portraits and salon-style hang of bygone eras.

Painting in oil allows Lizon to build up her paintings in layers with the finest of surface details: the liquidity of a teardrop, the soft warmth of fur, the particular smooth gloss of a ceramic glaze and the scratchy sheen of nylon. Her traditional techniques enable her to engage with art historical portraiture on a deeper level.

Chippy Coates of Coates and Scarry says “Each of Lizon’s paintings contain numerous stories and experiences, brought to the surface by the expressions, objects and costumes that are embedded within her works. They contain a clear wit and charm, counterbalanced by a creeping sense of unease.”

Menagerie - from Monday 20 April 2015 until 2 May 2015, 1100 until 1900 everyday, at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6BN.

Monster Returns to Brooklands Italian Car Day on Saturday 2 May

A fire-breathing aero-engined monster, a Formula 5000 car and hundreds of other exotics will star at Brooklands Museum’s annual Italian Car Day

Every square inch of Brooklands Museum’s 32-acre site will be crammed with Italian sports and super cars and motorcycles of all ages, each of them with that inimitable Mediterranean twist, for the 22nd Italian Car Day to have been organised at Brooklands in conjunction with Auto Italia magazine. The event, on Saturday 2nd May, is one of the biggest in the Museum’s calendar, with over 1,200 examples of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat cars on show.

One of the highlights on display will be the amazing ‘Il Drago Ruggente’. Built on a 1924 Delage chassis, it is powered by a 27-litre Isotta Fraschini V12 engine from a World War 2 Caproni bomber. It is owned by Glenn Billqvist, who will be bringing it from Sweden especially for this event.

Max Wakefield’s rebuilt Lola T332 will be in action on the Mercedes-Benz World circuit in the midday parades as a tribute to the former Italian female Lola and F1 racer driver Lella Lombardi, together with ‘Il Drago’ and selected Fiat 500s, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Lancias and Alfa Romeos, amongst others. Later in the afternoon, the action will return to Test Hill on the Museum site.
Supporting the event this year is prominent UK Ferrari specialists Hoyle-Fox, which will be displaying a “concours” Ferrari 330 GTC and a recently restored rare right-hand drive Dino 246 GTS in the desirable ‘Chairs and Flares’ option - so called because of its Ferrari Daytona seats, widened wings and Campagnolo wheels.

Throughout the day, the Paddock in front of the Clubhouse will be reserved for especially rare and interesting cars, with an extensive trade village selling models, spares and collectibles and additional food outlets around the site ensuring no-one goes hungry or thirsty.
The Museum’s motoring and aviation displays will be open as usual, including the Concorde Experience, 4D Theatre Napier-Railton Race Experience (extra charges apply) and the F1 Simulator. Entry for this event starts at £13 for adults if purchased in advance or £16 on the day, with family tickets at £35 in advance or £40 on the day. Advance tickets are available online until April 27 from and from the Museum Shop in person until May 1.

Italian cars should enter the Museum site via the Campbell Gate off Brooklands Road (with a fast access lane for ticket holders). Parking for visitors in non-Italian cars will be in The Heights off Wellington Way - please follow event signage on the day. Gates open at 8am for ticket holders and 8.30am for those paying on the day.
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine