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Businesswoman swaps Helmsley for the jungle to help the orangutans

Lynn Hempsall from the Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop will fly to Borneo in November to deliver urgent media supplies

A businesswoman from Helmsley is planning the final details of her second trip to Borneo this November to deliver much-needed medical supplies to two orangutan rescue centres.

Lynn Hempsall from the Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop has raised more than £2,000 to help Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID) raise a total of £30,000 to purchase a digital x-ray machine and generator for the vets at the rehabilitation centre in Ketapang, Borneo, run by International Animal Rescue. The equipment will allow them to treat the injured and rescued orangutans quicker, putting less stress on the animals.

The x-ray machine, along with other urgently needed medical supplies, will travel with Lynn and other volunteers for OVAID, who have all self-funded their trips. The trip also involves a visit to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) centre in central Borneo which is where the BBC’s Orangutan Diaries and Channel 4’s Orangutan Jungle School are both filmed.

The area around both centres has recently suffered serious forest fires, similar to those seen in the Amazon, where vast swathes of land are burned to make room for palm oil plantations and farming. The fires destroy the homes and food supplies of the orangutans and often leave them stranded and starving.

Lynn said: “It’s been a difficult time for the rescue centres and the forest fires make the already sizeable demands on their services even more great. I am taking an entire extra suitcase full of medical equipment for the orangutan babies that have struggled with the polluted air from the fires.

“To be honest, this isn’t a trip I thought I’d do again – it was hard last time, and I struggled with the long journey and horrendous mosquito bites! But when I was approached to go back I found I couldn’t say no – and seeing what a tough time they’re having over there, I’m very glad to be able to take these supplies they so desperately need. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has donated, it means such a lot. Every penny raised goes directly to the care of the orangutans.”

The two-week long trip will see Lynn trek into the Borneo jungle at Nyaru Mentang to see if any of the previously released orangutans can be spotted in the ‘safe’ areas, as well as doing overnight boat trips to the islands where the orangutans go in preparation for being released. Finally, she will spend two days trekking and sleeping in the jungle, before reaching Ketapang and the International Animal Rescue centre where she spent a month in 2015, to deliver the equipment.

Lynn added: “I am really hoping we get to see the orangutans coming back from jungle school so I can catch sight of Budi, Jemmi and Gito, the tiny rescued babies that were there when I was. I have had to have blood tests and chest x-rays myself to show I am not carrying any diseases that can be passed onto the orangutans and at no point are we allowed to touch or hold them as it is unethical and dangerous to both me and the orangutan (they bite!)”

Lynn has raised more than £2,000 through competitions, sponsored runs, bake sales and even an orangutan-themed selfie frame. She will be taking part in her final fundraising event on Sunday 13th October, competing in a 5K run at the Yorkshire Wildlife park. Anyone wishing to sponsor Lynn or donate money to the OVAID fund can do so via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lynn-hempsall or in person at the Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop. The shop is also selling £1 charity bags of banana foam sweets to help add to the fundraising efforts.

Nigel Hicks, vet and co-founder of OVAID, said: “The digital x-ray system being donated to the International Animal Rescue orangutan centre in Ketapang will bring instant and long-lasting benefits to the veterinary team and the 100+ orangutan in their care. The donation will be opportune as the current horrendous fires in Indonesia may result in long term respiratory problems such as air sacculitis for the orangutan and the digital system will enable much more effective diagnosis. The system gives instant images without lengthy chemical processing thus lessening sedation times and improving safety for the orangutan which is especially important if they are suffering from respiratory problems. We have to say a huge thank you to our supporters and fundraisers who have made this donation possible.”

For more information on the plight of the orangutans and how you can help, visit:

OVAID – www.ovaid.org

International Animal Rescue – www.internationalanimalrescue.org/protecttheforest

BOSF – www.orangutan.or.id