History

Animals’ Voice first premises was a tiny rented shop in Fordingbridge High Street, from 1969-1976. The trust was originally founded as Animals’ Vigilantes but changed its name to Animals’ Voice in 1998, the reason being that when the trust was founded in 1965, “Vigilante” meant “to care for”, but over the years the name became distorted and associated with being militant.

The comedian/writer/actor Spike Milligan was our first President from 1968-1978. He was a great supporter of our work and animal welfare. Unfortunately, due to work commitments he retired as President but remained a Patron of our Trust. In 1980 Animals’ Voice gathered 190,000 signatures to ban the culling of Canadian seal pups and in February 1981, Spike Milligan with Founder Chairman Ted Cox, delivered the petition sheets to the Canadian High Commissioner at Canada House, London. The Canadian Government bowed to public pressure and the culling of seal pups virtually stopped!

Within two years our work had expanded, and we had outgrown our accommodation. The famous actor James Mason, who with his wife Clarissa, became joint Presidents of Animals’ Voice taking over from Spike Milligan. They launched an appeal to raise funds to provide new Headquarters for our work and on the 11 of November 1976, they officially opened James Mason House, at 24 Salisbury Street, Fordingbridge, our present-day address.

When Animals’ Voice was founded our work concentrated on education. However, over the past 25 years the trust has incorporated caring for injured and orphaned wildlife that, once recovered, is released back into the wild. If this isn’t possible permanent homes are found for them.

In February 1998, the trustees officially changed the name of the trust from Animals’ Vigilantes to Animals’ Voice.

The Animals' Vigilantes shop
The Animals' Vigilantes shop
The Animals' Voice shop
The Animals' Voice shop
Spike Milligan and friends
Spike Milligan and friends

Animals’ Voice first President Spike Milligan, 1968-1978.


James and Clarissa Mason, promoting the work of Animals' Voice in between James starring in theatre work on Broadway!
James and Clarissa Mason, promoting the work of Animals' Voice in between James starring in theatre work on Broadway!
James with his animal co-star during a break filming 'The Water Babies'
James with his animal co-star during a break filming 'The Water Babies'

James and Clarissa were joint Presidents of Animals’ Voice 1979-1984. Clarissa Mason remained as President from 1984 to 1994.


Diana de Rosso, President of Animals’ Voice 1994-2003.


Actor Richard Briers of stage, screen and television, was a Patron of Animals’ Voice from 1984-2003 before becoming President from 2003-2013.


Football Manager Harry Redknapp became President of Animals’ Voice on 5 March 2014.