Banbury man’s legacy funds conservation education

Carol and Mike Fenner present the cup with the district administrator, the Zambian President's representative NNL-160808-142439001
Carol and Mike Fenner present the cup with the district administrator, the Zambian President's representative NNL-160808-142439001

Two years after the passing of Banbury businessman Chris Fenner, his family have returned from Africa after making final arrangements to establish a charity to educate young Zambian children.

The educational fund commemorates the life of Mr Fenner whilst providing bursaries and scholarships in conservation and environmental matters.

Although there are many conservation organisations in Zambia, most are primarily concerned with the daily battle of protecting wildlife from immediate threats such as poaching.

The new charity is based in the idea the war against poaching will only be won when the local people are enabled to look after their precious inheritance.

Chris’ brother, Andy said: ”Chris was passionate about the environment and supported many conservation initiatives.

“He believed that Zambians should benefit from the parks and game lodges and if they did they would help preserve wildlife. We hope to continue his vision.”

His father Mike said: “The fund will work by funding local students through higher education. When qualified, as well as working directly in the field, they serve as role models and ambassadors.

“They will show people how to value, conserve and protect wildlife and protect it from poaching. Education is the key to providing a sustainable, long term solution which can only be delivered with the active, informed participation of local people.”

Chris fell in love with Africa in 2001 when he joined an overland expedition which visited countries across the continent such as Zimbabwe and Zambia.

He worked various jobs in these countries but spent most of his time at the South Luangwa Conservation Society where he played a significant role in sourcing and funding a spotter plane as well as becoming an honorary police officer and ranger.

Chris also gave significant support to the Elephant Orphanage Project and was involved with the Grassroots Trust to help protect villages from elephant intrusion. His main project was an orphanage in the Lower Zambezi Valley which he cofounded and funded anonymously.

While in Zambia, the Fenner family also presented a memorial cup in the South Luangwa Valley Fun Run.

The memorial cup was presented to the winner of the 10km fun run organised by Conservation South Luangwa.

Chris was heavily involved in this event which is part of the effort to involve the people of South Luangwa in conservation matters, so the cup helps preserve that link.

Chris’ brother, Andy, and partner, Mark, took part in the run raising over £300 from sponsorship.

For more information the Chris Fenner Educational Fund will have a stall at the South Newington Flower Show on August 13.