animal lover runs wild for charity

A local Greenhithe man is set to take part in a 10K race in aid of Animals Asia, a charity which campaigns to end the cruel suffering of bears in China and Vietnam.

30-year-old Phil Reeks, who is an Operator in the Import department at Dartford-based Europa Worldwide Group, will be taking part at the event at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Canterbury. Entrants will weave through the park, past exotic animals including monkeys, tigers and elephants as they run the 10K distance.

Phil will be taking part in the event as part of Europa’s 50:50 charity initiative, set up to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary this year. Employees are participating in a whole host of events for a variety of charities throughout the year and every penny raised will be match funded by Europa to the tune of £500. 

Having previously ran two half marathons in aid of other animal charities, Phil has chosen Animals Asia this time, to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of bears currently in captivity in Asia that are being farmed for their bile, which is used for traditional medicine.

Phil said: “Animals Asia is a brilliant cause, helping to rescue some of the most exploited, abused animals in the world and as an animal lover, it’s something I’m very passionate about raising awareness for.

“I’m not a runner, but I have recently started again and I’m actually really looking forward to the run around the wildlife park. Every penny counts and I’ve had quite a few donations so far. With Europa’s generous match funding, it will be great to donate a significant amount to help such a worthwhile cause.”

Carl Potter, HR and Facilities Director at Europa said: “Phil is doing a great job of promoting a cause that not many people are aware of. His dedication to animal charities is truly commendable and we’re delighted to be able to support him in his next challenge.

He continued: “We’re pleased to see our 50:50 initiative take off in the way it has over the course of the year so far. Our employees from across the country have really embraced fundraising and we have already raised nearly £3,000 for a wide variety of causes, with new events taking place almost every week.”

Along with Phil’s chosen charity, Animals Asia, Europa employees from across Kent and the rest of the UK have signed up to take part in events such as full marathons, sponsored swims, cake sales, walks and even balloon races in aid of their chosen charities.