Third Sector Awards 2017: Celebrity Charity Champion - Steve and Helen Backshall, World Land Trust

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For the celebrity or celebrities that have shown genuine and productive support for their chosen charity or charities

Helen and Steve Backshall
Helen and Steve Backshall

Who are they?

BBC Natural History presenter Steve Backshall and his wife, the Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover, worked together to raise awareness and funds for wildlife conservation through the World Land Trust.

How did they get involved?

In 2014 Backshall, who was taking part in a canoe race known as "the Canoeist’s Everest", raised £50,000 for the charity in sponsorship. This money directly funded the purchase and protection of 481 acres of Chocó rainforest in Colombia. Steve has also made promotional videos to spread awareness of the charity’s campaigns.

Steve’s support inspired Glover to become an ambassador for the WLT and, in summer 2016, she became the face of the Olympic Forest Appeal. Despite being in the middle of training for her second Olympic gold medal, she set about encouraging her wide social media following to donate and help secure the Olympic Forest Reserve, just a few hours away from Rio de Janeiro. The appeal ended up exceeding its £40,000 target.

Why did they win?

Their biggest charitable achievement is the work they have put into fundraising to protect the Bornean Rainforest. Again taking part in the Canoeist’s Everest, they engaged followers on social media and created a media buzz, exceeding their £100,000 target by almost £50,000.

The campaign brought in nearly 2,000 new donors to the charity and 923 new subscribers to its monthly digital newsletter. The couple worked tirelessly to thank every donor who voiced their support on Twitter and Facebook. 


Paul O'Grady, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Bear Grylls, the Scout Association

Martin Clunes, Macmillan Cancer Support

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