Monday 1 December 2014

RIP Dr Ian Player - I hope

I've met two great men so far in my life. The first was Sir Edmund Hillary and the second was Dr Ian Player, who has just died.

When I met him in the South African bush in September, he was clearly very frail, and it was remarkable the care and respect with which he was treated by all the hard men who surrounded him. Despite having to be supported in a chair, he spoke with real passion to the 140 students of the World Youth Rhino Summit, and he was an inspiration.

In the 1960s he saved the white rhino from certain extinction, and it was so special to hear him talk about the cause in the same park, iMfelozi, where he did that. He spent his life doing practical work to save the rhino as well as travelling and talking and organising, to inspire others to do the same.

Passion, inspiration, respect, greatness: words that get cheapened with overuse these days - but every one of them is true and accurate in this case. It was a real privilege to meet Dr Player. He will only rest in peace if we carry on his cause.

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