Legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough returned to his home town yesterday to pledge his support for the Rotary Club of Leicester. The veteran broadcaster and naturalist attended Bradgate Park in order to voice his support for the new visitor centre they want to open within the Park’s grounds as part of their centenary celebrations in 2016.
The Club is hoping to convert an existing barn, transforming the space into an educational space that can be enjoyed by the 400-500,000 people who visit the park annually. They are looking for funds amounting to £150,000 to allow the project to go ahead, and want to design a modern centre to bring the park into the 21st century, and teach visitors about its rich past.
Bradgate Park is both a popular tourist attraction and a favourite destination for local residents, with an 800 year history that tells the story of 600 million year-old fossils, Ice Age hunters and Lady Jane Grey. Now an important wildlife conservation, the area is home to a wide range of animals and plants, including fine herds of deer and the largest population of ancient trees in Leicestershire.
Sir David Attenborough OM FRS grew up on the campus grounds of University College, Leicester, and as a keen explorer from a young age, often spent time in the park. He said, “This is a wonderful place it was hugely important to me as a boy, here I saw things that I couldn’t see anywhere else and for the first time, I saw birds for the first time, here I saw rocks and it made me think about rocks and how the land was formed, of course its a place where you fill your lungs and run up and down hills, but its also profoundly important in giving you visions of reality”
“Back in the 30s it was a gem of a place, and you might think that the way that the population has grown since the 1930s that places like this would be swamped and disappear and miraculously it hasn’t because people of Leicester and the surrounding area care for this place and its marvellous that the rotary have decided to make this great project so people can understand what this place is and what it represents and how it came to be the way it is”.
As well as Sir David showing his support, the Appeal launch was also attended by the City Mayor, the Bishop of Leicester and leaders of the Council. The Rotary Club prides itself on finding ways of helping the local community, and Rotarian David Brunton, chairman of the centenary project said: “Over 100 years the Club has supported local, national and international causes and we see this as another very significant contribution to our community. We sincerely hope people will support our appeal.”
To find out more or to make a donation contact Rotarian David Brunton on 07710 752669 or email Rotarian Adrian Keene treasurer at firstname.lastname@example.org