White knight to the rescue

PHILANTHROPIST Philip Wollen has made it his business to protect bears in China, birds of prey in South Africa and orphans in India.

Now the 2007 Australian of the Year has stepped forward to protect homeless dogs and cats on the Northern Rivers.

Lismore's Animal Rights and Rescue Group recently received a $5000 donation from the Melbourne-based white knight through his charitable organisation, the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust.

Unbeknown to the Animal Rights and Rescue Group, the trust had been monitoring its progress and practices for some time before deciding to support it through its 'Out of the Blue' initiative.

The money will go towards construction of a veterinary clinic and emergency pens at the group's South Lismore headquarters.

Mr Wollen has since come on board as patron of group.

Animal Rights and Rescue Group president Barbara Steffensen said it was a great honour to be chosen as a worthy cause by Mr Wollen and his trust, which supports close to 200 organisations worldwide focusing on the care of animals, children, the environment, along with ill and aspiring youth. Some of these groups include Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Amnesty International, The Wilderness Society and PETA.

Ms Steffensen hopes Philip Wollen's patronage will attract other supporters.

“He said we are one of the leaders in the area of animal welfare and a model organisation in terms of our efforts and policy,” she said.

“Mr Wollen is a hero of welfare groups. He has never watered down what he stands for.”

Volunteer dog carer Paul Slessor described Mr Wollen's support was a 'wonderful endorsement'. The group was very proud to have been chosen, he said.

“It is a match made in heaven,” Mr Slessor said.



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