Inspiring words from one of our long-term supporters, Sophie Holroyd
From right to left – Kitty Holroyd, Sophie Holroyd, Sam Botterill & Jenny Henman (founder of Plant your Future), enjoying prosecco at the event!
Sophie’s heartfelt words remind us of how many people share our passion, mission and vision. Each one of our supporters contribute to the success of Plant your Future in a different way, and to us, they are all valuable.
Sophie’s heartfelt words
It’s an odd thing, feeling so connected to a charity when you have never seen in person the good work it does, and have no real prospect of ever doing so. In the case of my relationship with Plant Your Future, the connection comes from caring passionately about the cause, and believing so strongly in the power of the charity to bring about transformational change both in people’s lives, and in the environment. The wonderful Plant Your Future fundraising reception at the kind invitation of the Peruvian Embassy in London made that connection meaningful and vivid for me, enabling me to meet many other like-minded committed supporters, the dedicated community of which I am a tiny part, to celebrate in person the work of the charity.
“In the case of my relationship with Plant your Future, the Connection comes from caring passionately about the cause and believing so strongly in the power of the charity to bring about transformational change both in people’s lives and in the environment.”
The evening also made my sense of the charity more vivid by putting faces to some of the names behind the scenes – Jenny, Plant Your Future’s driven, tirelessly energetic and articulate founder, and Barry, one of the all-important trustees who are the backbone of the charity’s organisation. Most of the volunteers were like me long-term supporters of the charity like Sam, who filled and refilled our glasses with fizz to accompany the lovely canapés, which I am sure encouraged me to buy several sheets of tickets to go in the raffle in the expectation of winning some wonderful prizes at the end of the evening.
My sense of connection was further heightened during the evening for everywhere I turned to look we were surrounded on each wall by images of Peru: the extraordinary exhibition of photographs taken over forty years ago by Tony Hutchings, whom we had the pleasure of hearing speak at the reception and who is also a generous supporter of the charity. His photographs record not only the most globally recognisable and iconic Peruvian landmarks, such as Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca, but also the scope and sweep of this extraordinary country, and its people.
Tony encountered them during his 15,000-mile journey as they celebrated the Inti Raymi festival, fished off Tachile Islands in reed boats, or made traditional everyday hats and belts. The Ambassadors’s wife Desiree shared with me that a significant tower which was the focus of one of Tony’s photographs displayed in the entrance hall had collapsed in an earthquake in the intervening years and no longer exists and that for both herself and her friend visiting from Peru, who was also attending the reception, this was a particularly poignant record of their loss.
“There was a powerful sense throughout the evening of a swell of energy and enthusiasm to return to Peru and to the world the lost landscape.”
And indeed there was a powerful sense throughout the evening of a swell of energy and enthusiasm to return to Peru and to the world the lost landscape: since Tony visited in 1982 sadly so much more of Peru’s Amazonian rainforest has disappeared. In her speech Jenny made the powerful argument that sustainable agroforestry practices can reverse this decline, supporting a population of Amazonian farmers to live sustainably on the land they love by replanting tens of thousands of native trees – many of which grow fruits which can be harvested and yield an income — cocoa, lime, copoazu to name but three — and even trees which can be logged sustainably like marupa and tornillo.
Jenny reeled off (some mindboggling) stats on the scale-up in tree planting by the charity over the last 3 years – 44,000 trees in 2021, just over 156,000 in 2022, and they have already planted over 200,000 this year. They are on track to make it to 250,000 — yes, a quarter of a million — before the rains stop at the end of May. Phenomenal growth. I had sharp pictures in my mind of images that I have seen on Plant Your Future’s blog: the countless rows of tiny vibrant little tornillo saplings in their little pots growing in the forest nursery on the other side of the world, seeds that I in a small way had contributed to buying with my support during their Big Give campaign. Images in my mind too of the backbreaking labour of the farmers planting out the saplings in time for them to be watered by the rainy season to ensure their successful survival. Work that I can never help with in-person but which I, and all the other supporters at the reception and the army of others that couldn’t be there, can sustain and make possible.
It truly is an endeavour that spans the globe.