A milestone - my 50th birthday - was fast approaching. Time to take stock, look at my life; reassess priorities. What was really important to me? Animals, without doubt. And what was I doing to help them? Almost nothing! This revelation shocked me and, I'm glad to say, galvanised me into action. I had been veggie from the age of 14, loved all animals and hated the thought of abuse, but had never been really involved in animal rights, apart from signing the odd petition and writing a letter now and again. All that changed almost overnight. I gave up work, began to go on demonstrations and helped raise awareness and much needed funding for various campaigns.
Then I read a piece in Animal Aid's magazine Outrage, advertising for school speakers. Here was a chance to help influence young people; to bring it home to students how a small change in their lifestyle could help alleviate animal cruelty. I was raring to go.
Animal Aid's Ann Harriman gave me my first opportunity - two talks at Oak Lodge School for the Deaf. Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! Fortunately, all went well. The children were a joy and so responsive. Since then I've given talks at private schools with fees of £7,000 per term, to special units for excluded pupils where chairs were flying through the air!
Another Animal Aid school speakers' workshop offered the chance to learn about giving vegan cookery demonstrations. Again I jumped at the chance. I feel so privileged to be doing this work. Just think - if you can convert just one child to vegetarianism you could be saving about 4,000 animals' lives. (And I think I have at least 25 reformed meat-eaters under my belt.) My only regret is that I didn't start sooner. It's what I should have been doing all my life. If you want to do more to help animals, my advice would be - don't even think about it, just do it!