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There are many ways you can support our work. One of them is to have your wedding guests donate to us in lieu of buying presents. Mark and Annamae Holden from Norfolk in the UK did precisely this and raised £400 ($464) for BOS. We wanted to know more about the generous couple and asked them for an interview. Read Mark’s answers below.

You have been together for nine years. Do you share a passion?
Animals! Annamae has always loved caring for UK wildlife, working in a few animal sanctuaries and now a vet practice. I adopted her love for animals, and we went on to run a wildlife rehab from our terrace house in Norfolk. It included the recovery and release of pigeons, hedgehogs, deer, robins, squirrels, seagulls and many more! Annamae’s dream is to launch a full-time wildlife hospital/sanctuary in Norfolk. I currently work as a digital designer, and we are waiting to move house with some land to start.

When did you realise you shared an interest in helping wildlife?
I think after a couple of years. Once you start hanging out with animals, like the underrated pigeon, you realise how complex and sentient they are. The more we spent time with them, the more we felt compassion and understood them. They are just little people in a different form. I realised that there is not much that we don’t share with them. This is especially true for orangutans.

Where and when have you heard about BOS for the first time?
I was hunting for a place to send Christmas present donations too. I think I found you through Google and followed you on Instagram. That you guys retrain orangutans for release made me choose you a few years ago.

Why is supporting orangutans and the rainforest close to your heart?
Orangutans possess all the best things humans have, minus the bad bits. They are loving, peaceful, funny, caring and super cute. The rainforest is the most biodiverse place on earth and pretty magical. We’ve been lucky enough to visit tropical places like Thailand and Costa Rica and fell in love with the forests.

Who came up with the idea to raise money for orangutans during the wedding and why?
It was a joint effort. We don’t like to possess a lot of things, and we don’t need any more cookbooks or kitchen ornaments.

How have your guests reacted when they heard about it? Were they excited or surprised?
They loved it! It was a nice feature at the wedding, picking between two amazing charities (editors note: half of the money went to Soi Dog in Thailand). Some people were crazy generous. Even people that I know don’t have a lot of spare cash.

Are you planning any future initiatives with your family and friends?
Not at the moment. But I always ask people to donate to BOS rather than buying Christmas presents. It keeps random plastic presents away from our house and, of course, makes us feel good! We would love to come and work for BOS or another organisation in the future. Any way we can help would be fulfilling for sure.

If you feel inspired by Annamae and Mark, please check out our Ways to Raise page.
Thank you, in the name of the orangutans!

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