Downton Abbey star helps launch new South Downs charity

Hugh Bonneville and Toni Shaw (left). Photo: SDNPA/Anne Purkiss
Hugh Bonneville and Toni Shaw (left). Photo: SDNPA/Anne Purkiss

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville showed his support for the South Downs National Park Trust, a new charity launched yesterday (Monday October 16).

He joined charity trustee Toni Shaw to help monitor the health of a local chalk stream, just one example of the kind of work the charity will support.

Hugh Bonneville, who starred in the highly successful TV series Downton Abbey and will be seen on the big screen soon in Paddington 2, said: “The South Downs has been my home on and off for 40 years and I can see the ways that gaining National Park status has helped both the environment and communities.

“I often walk my dogs on the Downs and like thousands of others, locals and visitors alike, I appreciate the moments for reflection and inspiration that the South Downs National Park gives me.

“The South Downs National Park Trust is a great opportunity for us to give something back. To help care for the National Park and help more people gain access to it and enjoy it.”

Toni Shaw, Trustee for the South Downs National Park Trust, said: “We’re so grateful to the hundreds of people already volunteering their time to the National Park –monitoring the health of rivers is just one tiny part of the amazing work they do – and the new South Downs National Park Trust is another way people can show support for this great cause.

“By donating through our website or leaving a lasting gift in your will you can show your love for the National Park. For the price of just a coffee we could create a square metre of wildflower meadow, providing a nectar source for bees and butterflies.

“Or for the price of a cinema ticket you could help a child take part in an outdoor education activity that helps them discover the National Park for the first time.”

The South Downs National Park Trust is independent but will be supported by South Downs National Park Authority staff for its first three years – ensuring that funds raised can be focused on work in the National Park.

Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “The National Park Authority and our partners have big ambitions for the South Downs: we want to see more of the land managed for wildlife, more rare habitats protected, more local communities thriving and more people able to access and enjoy the landscapes. This goes far beyond our current funding.

“The new Trust will help it flourish and stay protected for future generations.”

Find out more and donate at www.southdownstrust.org.uk