Gruffalo illustrator entertains for the Environment Trust

*This story was originally written on December 7 and refers to an event that took place on December 6.*

Richmond-based Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler entertained an eager young audience with drawings of his characters to raise funds for the Environment Trust on December 6.

The German illustrator visited Kingston and joined forces with actress Helen Baxendale (Friends, Cold Feet, Cuckoo) to present a lively reading of two Julia Donaldson books, The Ugly Five and The Highway Rat, which he illustrated.

While Baxendale read the stories, Scheffler sketched a number of his most popular creations including the Gruffalo and Stick Man.

Over 400 attendees – mostly children aged between three and 10-years-old and their parents – enjoyed the readings and queued to have a book signed and uniquely illustrated by Scheffler.

Scheffler is a patron for the charity and said he is a big supporter of the Environment Trust’s efforts to preserve local heritage, which include plans to build an environment and heritage centre in the borough.

“I think it’s good to raise awareness for heritage and nature in children, so it’s a good cause,” he said.

The event at All Saints Church was organised by the Environment Trust to raise money for several projects.

Maeve Adams, events and fundraising manager at the charity, said it also hopes to build a “green corridor” through Kingston, which would create a “super-highway for animals so that they can get around between their habitats easily and safely”.

Chief executive Berny Simcox said the event provided an excellent opportunity to engage youngsters and encourage them to learn about wildlife and conservation.

She said: “We think that if people take an interest and get involved in their local area they’ll care for it more and look after it now and for the future. The best way of doing that is through education, so the younger the better.”

The Environment Trust was set up in Richmond in 1984 and promotes conservation and education in several areas of South West London including Kingston, Hounslow and Wandsworth.

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