25 January 2021 – In January, BigChange welcomed Benjamin Mee, the conservationist and author of We Bought a Zoo, as its Motivational Monday speaker.
The international bestselling tale recounts Ben’s triumph and heartbreak of rescuing Dartmoor Zoo while coming to terms with his wife’s terminal cancer diagnosis.
Before buying the zoo, Ben knew that if a purchaser couldn’t be found, the vast majority of the animals would have to be destroyed. But it was a massive undertaking – the zoo had a poor reputation, was in massive financial difficulty, and was dilapidated.
Ben’s story was made into a 2011 Hollywood film starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, and his tale is ultimately one of hope – the zoo is still open, under the care of the Dartmoor Zoological Society.
Although his life experience is truly unique, when discussing what led to opening the zoo Ben tackled themes many of us can relate to: personal resilience, defiance of expectations and overcoming tragedy.
Along the way, Ben entertained with stories from the zoo’s early days including the time an IT consultant defused a confrontation between a Tiger and a Jaguar.
His story is one of triumph over adversity and the enduring commitment to a dream. You can hear the conversation in full below:
During January’s Motivational Monday session we also heard from Tanya Bish, the founder and leader of Living Potential Care Farming, a not-for-profit business that provides work and skills-training for people living with learning disabilities.
Tanya discussed the incredible opportunities Carlshead Farm offers for meaningful work in a supportive, therapeutic environment.
Next month, we’re proud to welcome Kevin Sinfield MBE, Director of Rugby for the Leeds Rhinos. Kevin will share the great work he’s done for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and his fund-raising efforts for his former teammate Rob Burrow. You can register for the event here.