I’m giving up my birthday presents to help save the rhinos


Kirstie Dolphin

A KIND-HEARTED 10-year-old has cancelled his eleventh birthday party to host a fundraising day to help save an endangered animal.

Not many young boys would give up their birthday gifts but Matthew Jarvis, from Denbigh, has organised a grand party at home inviting more than 100 children to donate money to Save The Rhino instead of giving presents.

Matthew’s dad, Roger who is originally from Zimbabwe, said: “Matthew has always grown up with a love of animals and conservation probably because of where I’m from.

“He got involved with this about six months ago and wants every child to donate some money no matter how little instead of having any presents.”

The party called My Nose Is Killing Me has even attracted the attention of the Royal Family, survival specialist Bear Grylls and local zoos.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls sent Matthew a letter through First Denbigh Scout Group, of which Matthew is a member, and a personal email about the great work he’s doing.
Roger said: “Bear Grylls has always been big hero for him and he’s a supporter of saving the rhinos so to get an email, which we’ve now laminated, is fantastic.

“I also wrote a letter to Prince William with the party line My Nose Is Killing Me, and we got a letter back which we didn’t expect saying he really supports what Matthew is doing.”

Matthew is in his last year at Fairholme School in St Asaph and has gained a scholarship to study at Ruthin School.

Roger said: “He struggled in school and so we decided to take a loan out so he could go to Fairholme and in his first year he transformed. Before he was shy and would not stand up or speak in front of class but now he’s even organising events.

“So when he decided he wanted to do this how could we say no.”
Matthew thought of the project when his mum, Jane a high school teacher in Old Colwyn, and dad held a christening party or Matthew’s sister, Caitlyn.

Matthew has even been round knocking on shop doors telling business owners about Save The Rhino, which works to conserve viable populations of endangered rhinos and asking if they would sponsor the event.

In the leaflet Matthew said: “At the turn of the 19th century there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today there are only around 28,000 rhinos surviving in the wild.

“Even a small donation can make a huge difference to help the rhinos, and in raising awareness then all conservation projects will be that little bit richer.”
Matthew already knows he wants to work with animals when he’s older as a veterinary neurologist or a safari vet.

The party will be held on Sunday, June 22 and will include a fun day of party games, a conservation treasure hunt, rhino themed snacks on sale, raffle and auction.
Chester Zoo, which has a renowned Rhino Conservation Project, Welsh Mountain Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park have also donated family tickets as prizes and Bear Grylls donated a signed photo and book.

See full story in the Free Press

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