An acclaimed writer, photographer and conservationist from Matlock has won a prestigious award for her work as an animal lover.
Anna-Louise Pickering, 50, has dedicated her life to the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures.
So it came as no surprise when she was presented with a lifetime achievement accolade at the Animal Star Awards, which have been described as the BAFTAs of the animal world.
At a glittering ceremony in Portsmouth, Anna-Louise said: “This is such a huge honour, and very unexpected for me.
“The award is very much a tribute to my late mum, the wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering.
“All the work I have been able to do as an advocate for animals has been inspired by her and carried out alongside her. From caring for and rehabilitating rescued British wildlife to funding conservation and animal welfare projects worldwide.
“I now have the incredible legacy of continuing the work of the foundation which bears my mum’s name.
“it is amazing to win an award like this and I feel very privileged to have done so.”
The Animal Star Awards were founded by Mary Burgess, an animal lover who wanted to create recognition for animals and people who have achieved extraordinary things.
Anna-Louise was selected as a finalist in the lifetime achievement category from a field of more than 50 entries.
She began her career in theatre and television. But in 1988, she joined the family business, Pollyanna Pickering Ltd, run by her mother, who was one of Europe’s formemost wildlife artists.
For 15 years, Anna-Louise ran a registered hospital for injured and orphaned birds of prey from her home, and also rehabilitated foxes, hares and squirrels.
Along with her mum, she also undertook a remarkable series of expeditions, covering all seven continents, to study endangered species in their natural habitats.
These included canoeing through crocodile-infested rivers, being charged by a wild tiger, travelling by dog sled in the High Arctic and camping on ice at temperatures of minus 40.
Anna-Louise was even the first woman from the West to travel to a remote area of the Tibetan borderlands, where she worked in a hospital for sick pandas.
The photographs and articles that resulted from the expeditions have appeared in publications across the world, including those of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the RSPB, highlighting the plight of threatened species and environments.
Anna-Louise is also the author of five critically praised books, and patron of charities such as Cats In Need and North Derbyshire Animal Support.