15th Oct, 2019

Neil Ismay, Chairperson of African Tails, and Liam Richards (Willie’s son) joined Willie in Stellenbosch to help him cross the finish line and celebrate his 1,500km journey.

Written by Dalene Swart, Fundraiser – African Tails

Photographer – Alfred Benz

Willie Richards is a man on a mission. His aim is to prevent neglect and suffering of street dogs and cats. And he’s asking for your help, because he cannot do this alone.

Before society can make a difference, they need to know of the problem. Once you’re aware of the problem, you have the power to be part of the solution and see the impact of your support.

The Where’s Willie Challenge

On Tuesday, 10th of September, Willie left Stellenbosch on a solo, back-to-back, seven-day cycling and 13-day running endurance adventure with the aim of covering 1,500km in 20 days to raise awareness and funds for the Capetonian animal welfare organisation African Tails, which will use the funds raised by Willie for mass-sterilisation projects.

The unassisted seven-day cycle from Stellenbosch to Plettenberg Bay covered 755km and included most of the Cape Cross route.

Let’s put this in perspective: The Cape Epic is an eight-day 624-kilometre challenge.

Once in Plettenberg Bay, this One Man, One Cause endurance adventurer started his 755km journey back on foot. He swapped his hand-built bicycle for a pair of running shoes and a backpack.

This 13-day trip back home was almost equivalent to running the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km) every day for 13 days.

Why, you might ask? Pet overpopulation directly results in abuse, neglect and the increase of stray and homeless animals, which in turn leads to an increase in health and safety risks for both humans and animals. The only way to prevent this is proactive intervention through sterilisation of domestic pets and education on humane and basic animal care for their owners – young and old.

The campaign so far

The #WheresWillie2019 Campaign has already raised over R31,000, contributing to 62 sterilisations and preventing overpopulation, neglect, and suffering of 4,154,000 puppies.

Willie covered exactly 1,500.66km over a period of 20 days. 

#WheresWillie2019 and African Tails are returning to Riversdale to offer their support and expertise and to use the funds raised for a Mass Sterilisation Campaign there. 

While travelling through 20 different towns, Willie had the opportunity to meet Robyn from CARS (Community Animal Rescue Society), in Riversdale, and discovered a shared passion for animals. Neither of them knew that they’d meet again.

Within two weeks after arriving back in Stellenbosch, the African Tails Board agreed to Willie’s suggestion to use the money raised to conduct a Mass Sterilisation Campaign for the companion animals of the community of Riversdale. 

African Tails will join forces with Four Paws SA, Dr Roos and CARS for the first-ever Mass Sterilisation Campaign in Riversdale, which is scheduled to take place between the 23rd and 25th of October 2019. The #WheresWillie2019 campaign raised enough funds for 62 sterilisations. 

You can assist in raising additional funds to help sterilise no less than 100 dogs/cats. Every R500 donation will cover the cost of one sterilisation.

Why not sign a monthly debit order to the value of only R50? Your small, affordable contribution sterilises one dog or cat and prevents the birth of 67,000 unwanted puppies/kittens over a period of six years. You will literally change the future.

Monthly recurring donations are available on this secure platform: https://www.givengain.com/cc/whereswillie-2019/donate/#start

Or donations can be deposited into:

Bank/Branch:               Nedbank Sea Point
Account Name:                       African Tails
Current Acc. No.:         1069401978
Branch Code:              106909 – if 8 digits are required, please add the extra numbers “13”
Reference:                   Your name/donation