Helping badgers: Rock legend Brian May joins forces with Derbyshire artist Pollyanna Pickering


31 October 2014 by Sarah North

Brian May and Pollyanna Pickering
Pollyanna Pickering with Brian May.

DERBYSHIRE wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering has joined forces with legendary guitarist Brian May in a new venture to help raise funds for the vaccination of badgers.

One of the founding members of rock group Queen, Brian is frequently cited as one of the world’s greatest guitarists. He holds a PhD in astrophysics and runs his own animal welfare organisation called Save Me. In recent years he has become one of the most outspoken and passionate campaigners for badgers, opposing the government’s controversial cull, which is aimed at stopping badgers spreading TB to cattle.

Pollyanna created a new painting of badgers, Safe Haven, live on television, which is now to be released as a limited edition print. Brian has co-signed the first 10 prints with Pollyanna. This is only the second time that Pollyanna has released any co-signed images, the first being with the Duchess of Devonshire as part of a project to raise funds for medical charity Nedscan.

Pollyanna – who is patron of the Badger Trust – will also complete an original pencil sketch on each of the ten, and she believes these pictures are sure to become much sought-after collectors items. She said: “Myself and Brian are united in backing vaccination of badgers as an alternative to culling as a method of controlling TB, and the proceeds from sales of the limited edition will be donated to projects which are carrying out vaccination programmes.”

The limited edition print will be exclusively launched at Matlock-based Pollyanna’s forthcoming exhibition “Down on the Farm” – a new collection of work inspired by her love of Derbyshire farms. Over 50 paintings will be exhibited to the public for the first time from November 15-30 in her private gallery at Brookvale House, Oaker, near Matlock.

Meanwhile, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has said that, almost 18 months since the fund-raising began and six months since the first badger vaccination in Derbyshire, the vaccination season has come to a close for 2014.

The final badger vaccinations of the year took place this week at two sites in South Derbyshire.

Debbie Bailey, lead vaccinator for the Trust supported the newest vaccinator, Liz Oldring. They vaccinated over 75% of badgers at the sites. “I am delighted to have vaccinated the first badgers in South Derbyshire. Vaccination is a real alternative to culling badgers and we hope to expand the programme further in the south of Derbyshire next year,” said Ms Oldring.