Man dies after crash in Zambian bush

Chris Fenner, who tragically died in a car accident in Zambia on May 17. He was 42. NNL-140306-121413001
Chris Fenner, who tragically died in a car accident in Zambia on May 17. He was 42. NNL-140306-121413001

A former Banbury man who dedicated more than ten years of his life to protecting the African plains has died following a car accident.

Christopher Fenner died after his car struck a rock on an unsurfaced road in the Zambian bush on May 17.

The 42-year-old was a passionate activist in various conservation, environmental and humanitarian projects after settling in Zambia’s capital Lusaka in 2003.

His parents, Carol and Mike Fenner, of South Newington, flew out and joined a celebration of their son’s life on May 24 and were told of his support for a range of different projects in Africa.

Mrs Fenner said: “Chris was a very modest man and did more work in 40 years than I have done in 70. He was a very straightforward person and would tell people how it was, but when it came to projects in Africa he did not want to tell people about the work he did.”

After leaving the Warriner School in Bloxham, Mr Fenner achieved an HNC at Oxford College of Further Education before joining Alcan Laboratories. After being made redundant he joined McDonald’s in Banbury and eventually became manager.

In 2001 he joined an overland expedition which visited many countries across southern Africa, before taking up various jobs in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

He 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.

He 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 Zambesi valley which he co-founded and funded anonymously.

Mr Fenner’s brother Andrew, said: “Chris, you may not be physically with us now but in our heads and with the things you did you always will be. You will always be there because you left your mark everywhere you went. Thank you for everything, you will never be forgotten.”

A tree will be planted in Mr Fenner’s memory at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground.