Zohir is running to protect nature
After Zohir Uddin's wife, Abida, rekindled his interest in the natural world, he took out a joint National Trust membership as a Valentine's Day gift. The couple has been exploring golden beaches, historic houses, woodland and parkland ever since.
These special places are an escape from the hustle and bustle of London life and have inspired Zohir to take on a fundraising challenge to help protect them for future generations.
During September and October 2020, Zohir marked our 125th anniversary year by covering a distance of 125km around the National Trust places he loves to visit with his wife Abida.
Zohir took on this challenge, which involved 15 runs and one cycle ride, to help us continue looking after nature during the pandemic, which has had a massive impact on our finances. 'The current crisis has made us all realise how important nature is and how much we've taken it for granted,' he says.
" The National Trust is a national institution, and the countryside it looks after is for all of us to enjoy. I want to raise awareness of that. "
Zohir's challenge was full of memorable moments. After finishing a run at Petworth House and Park in the South Downs, he was rewarded by the sight of a herd of fallow deer on the hillside. 'My wife and I stood there for about half an hour. We didn’t even get our phones out, we just stood and looked at the deer and lost ourselves in the moment. There was no-one else there, it was just us,' he says.
Another special moment was enjoying views of the Seven Sisters Cliffs from Birling Gap, a stretch of pristine coastline on the south coast.
So far, Zohir has raised almost £800 and his employer has generously promised to match the final amount up to the value of £10,000.
Sharing a love for nature
Spending time in green spaces gives us time to reflect, pause and notice the changing colours of the seasons. Zohir wants more people living in urban environments to experience these benefits of the natural world and hopes his fundraising efforts will encourage others to rediscover nature as he did.
‘I hadn’t even heard of the National Trust until a few years go. Visiting the countryside just wasn’t on my radar and wasn’t something I thought I’d be interested in doing. Since becoming a member I’ve got a real passion for it,' he says.
For Zohir, visiting the countryside and connecting with nature fosters a deep sense of belonging and a strong attachment to different places. ‘As someone from an ethnic minority, I want to increase awareness about what the National Trust does among people who may not have heard of it or have easy access to the countryside,' he says.
Zohir first fell in love with the places in our care after his wife took him to Chartwell – the Kent home of Winston Churchill. He was struck by the beauty of the lake, the trees and the surrounding countryside.
Since becoming a National Trust member, Zohir and his wife have explored moated castles, woodlands, rugged coastline and wildlife-rich parkland all over the country. When the couple is looking for a quick escape from the stresses and strains of daily life they go walking in the hills at Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire. They also like to unwind at Morden Hall Park – a peaceful wildlife haven at the heart of a bustling urban community in south London.
‘These places allow us to forget about the world. My wife and I have very busy work lives and we go to National Trust places to escape the mayhem and the chaos,' says Zohir.
We're so grateful to all our fundraisers that take on incredible challenges to help us protect nature, beauty and history for future generations to enjoy.
As a charity, fundraisers are vital to ensure we can continue protecting precious landscapes and the wildlife that depends on them. Every amount raised makes a real difference. Thank you for your support, it matters more now than ever.