Fundraising: Me and my charity

Duncan McCrae is director of Atlantic Europe Publishing, a company he founded 18 years ago that produces educational books for the UK and some foreign countries. He lives in Henley and supports Earthwatch, with which he has become more involved since his wife died in 2003.

Why did you choose Earthwatch? The story started back in 2000 when my wife and I went to Madagascar. I always had an interest in wildlife. We found the threat to wildlife due to population pressure shocking. It's easy to fall for the cause of limas when you are in Madagascar. You see how vulnerable these species are when you travel there. Animals tend to be the losers in the battle for resources.

Then in October 2003 my wife died. The same year my brother committed suicide and my father died from cancer. That had a devastating impact on me. In spring 2004 my colleagues and I decided to take part in a half-marathon in memory of my wife, who ran it for Earthwatch the year before - she raised £500. In her memory, we founded the Pippa McCrae Fund. The fund is run by Earthwatch, but all the money comes from me and my friends.

Donations help fund wildlife research in the field and teach students new techniques such as camera trapping - the sort of things they just don't learn at university.

What do you do to support it? I raised £4,500 with friends by running the half-marathon last year. More recently I took part in the Reading half-marathon and raised £1,000.

Do you volunteer as well?

I went on a conservation project for two weeks in Brazil. It was really physical work - hard work, but very interesting. You understand how difficult it is to get the money. At the moment I am learning to dive and would be keen to use it to do conservation work.

What are your other charities? My wife used to support Breakthrough Breast Cancer. I have supported Oxfam for 20 years. My mother worked for it and I have visited a number of its projects in the past while travelling abroad.

I also support Macmillan nurses because they took care of my dad when he was ill.

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