South Downs National Park trustee Toni Shaw and Hugh Bonneville..
ACTOR Hugh Bonneville has officially launched a new charity for the South Downs.
The Downton Abbey star, who lives near Petworth, has thrown his support behind the South Downs National Park Trust.
He joined charity trustee Toni Shaw to help monitor the health of a chalk stream.
This is an example of the kind of work the charity will support.
Bonneville 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 the South Downs National Park gives me.
“The trust is a great opportunity for us to give something back, care for the national park and help more people gain access to it and enjoy it.”
Ms Shaw said: “We’re so grateful to the hundreds of people already volunteering their time and the new 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 thepark for the first time.”
The trust is independent but will be supported by South Downs National Park Authority staff for its first three years.
Authority chairwoman Margaret Paren 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 and more rare habitats protected.
“We also want 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.”
Source: The Argus