Young Maidstone vegan campaigner Harry Bidewell praised for raising £800 for Ashford Animal Rescue

One of the county’s youngest vegan campaigners has been praised for raising hundreds of pounds for an animal rescue charity.

Harry Bidewell, from Maidstone, has generated £800 for Ashford-based Retreat Animal Rescue since the start of last year.

Harry Bidewell aka the Vegan Squirrel with Retreat Animal Rescue owner Billy Thompson

The youngster, who started his own non-profit business Vegan Squirrel making and selling bottled carrot juice, has now helped defray a day’s costs for the High Halden sanctuary.

It has been in operation for over 30 years and houses 1,250 animals.

Harry’s dad Mark has opened up about how his son has always loved fundraising and made the decision to switch to a plant-based diet after doing Veganuary with his mum when he was four.

Harry baked cakes, bread, sold Vegan Squirrel products and washed cars to raise money to “help save the planet and animals”.

He recently visited the retreat to hand over the money to Billy Thompson.

‘What an amazing little kid to do this for the animals…’

“What Harry has done is absolutely brilliant,” he said.

“What an amazing little kid to do this for the animals and to inspire others – a little kid helping spread the word about what we do, what we need to keep this place open and proof that if you put your heart to something even to such a youngster, anything is possible.”

As the Retreat Animal Sanctuary continues its endeavor to protect and rehabilitate animals and play a role in animal welfare and sustainability, it is hoped that they hope Harry’s donations will inspire more businesses and individuals to come forward to support the retreat and its cause.

The Retreat has an all-day breakfast cafe, shop, lodges, and tours and education.

Speaking about the challenges of guiding a child through Veganuary, Mark said: “Harry always said it was not nice to eat animals, even at a very young age.

Harry Bidewell, aka the Vegan Squirrel, from Maidstone has raised £800 for the Retreat Animal Rescue in Ashford
Harry Bidewell, aka the Vegan Squirrel, from Maidstone has raised £800 for the Retreat Animal Rescue in Ashford

“Every time we walk through the supermarket he points to the meat aisle and says ‘not nice’.

“While we have always protected him from anything graphic, we have always been open with him about where the food comes from, ie soil or animal.

“Harry loves the planet and all animals and knows that being vegan helps both.”

For more information about The Retreat, visit www.retreatanimalrescue.org.uk.