Corrie Star Helen Worth in mission with Ifor Williams


Coronation Street star Helen Worth joined forces with a top trailer maker in an international rescue mission to return a mistreated lion from Europe to Africa.

A horsebox supplied by Ifor Williams Trailers was used to transport Simba the lion on the crucial first leg of his epic 5,000 journey to freedom.

Also on hand to help with the delicate operation was Helen Worth, a long-time supporter of the international wildlife charity which made the epic 5,000-mile journey possible.

Simba the lion was just a cub of less than a year old when he was then acquired by an animal trainer in France. He was moved from one trainer to another and subjected to a life of misery and solitude in the confines of a beast wagon.

Simba at French circus

But fate took a hand when the French authorities ordered Simba to be handed over.

Thanks to a concerted effort by Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, a French non-governmental organisation, temporary shelter was found at the Natuurhulpcentrum (Nature Help Centre) a Belgian wildlife rescue centre.

Simba set out on a journey of 4,900 miles after a new life of freedom was arranged for him at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi by international wildlife charity The Born Free Foundation.

Born Free, which is devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare, was founded 30 years ago by actors Virgina McKenna and Bill Travers and named after the classic British film in which they starred as Joy and George Adamson, a couple who raised Elsa, an orphaned lioness, to adulthood before releasing her into the wilderness of Kenya.

The rescue mission for Simba was made carried out by the Land Rover Experience, which provided a six-strong convoy of Land Rover Discovery vehicles for the long trip.

For the critical 120-mile first leg of the journey from Natuurhulpcentrum’s headquarters in Opglabbeek in eastern Belgium to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport in Holland Simba was loaded into a wildlife crate approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and carried carefully to her destination aboard a horsebox supplied to Natuurhulpcentruum by Ifor Williams Trailers.

Simba 3

Joining the Land Rover team for the road trip from Belgium to Holland was Coronation Street star Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt in the ITV soap and has been a strong supporter of the Born Free Foundation for many years.

At Schipol Airport Simba boarded a Kenya Airways 767 aircraft for the flight to Nairobi.

After landing in Kenya the rescue party was met by Virginia McKenna OBE, who joined the team on its drive to Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi marking the final chapter in a heart-breaking story of animal cruelty.

Helen Worth said: “To see the team in action was wonderful. Everyone working together to ensure this beautiful lion would have a safe and comfortable trip to Africa.

Simba 2

“I am so proud to have been party to this story. Simba’s previous life had been so traumatic and without the dedication of Born Free and the Natuurhulpcentrum (Wildlife Rescue Centre) this journey to a new life would not have been possible.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers.

“I am delighted we have been able to play a supporting role in this important project and that Simba is now settling into his new home.

“Transporting a lion was not one of the things we envisaged when designing our horsebox but our trailers are nothing if not flexible!”

Alison Hood, Rescue and Care Director for the Born Free Foundation, explained: “Transporting the rescued lion Simba from the Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium to his new home at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was a massive logistical undertaking.

“In order to ensure this move went as smoothly as possible, Born Free Foundation was lucky enough to have the support of an extended team and, importantly, the right equipment for the task.

“This included the Natuurhulpcentrum’s Ifor Williams horse box on to which Simba’s IATA approved crate was loaded.

“The trailer was then towed to Schiphol airport by vehicles provided by Land Rover, Born Free’s Global Conservation Partner.

“It is vital to ensure maximum safety and comfort when transporting wild animals and Born Free is happy to confirm that Simba’s road journey was just that, thanks to the right equipment being available.”

Virginia McKenna said: “This story is about one animal, one individual, but all of them matter and Simba, having initially been taken in by a Belgian rescue centre from an animal trainer in France, has now begun his final journey to Africa, his rightful homeland.

“People are increasingly aware of how wild animals can be exploited and can suffer, and perhaps long to be a part of a caring and positive story.

“At his new home in Malawi I know he will be beautifully cared for, living the rest of his life in a natural bush enclosure – a stark contrast to the circus wagon and barren `exercise’ pen in France. And perhaps, eventually, he will be introduced to beautiful Bella, a one-eyed lioness we brought there five years ago. That would be a happy ending!”

Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, said: “During the past decade Land Rover has enjoyed a successful and rewarding partnership with the Born Free Foundation. I am therefore delighted that our Land Rover Experience team has been able to help with the safe relocation of Simba from Belgium to Malawi.”

A spokesman for Natuurhulpcentrum said: “The transport of Simba went by the book. Simba was quiet, and our staff could not wait to arrive in Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.

“Simba was placed in a large run next to the residence of Bella, his future girlfriend. We are all naturally very curious whether the blind date between two neglected lions eventually will be a success. Fingers crossed!”

For more information about the Born Free Foundation, visit the website

Should I lend my horse trailer out?

Chevrons Front

Owning a Horse Trailer can suddenly propel you to being one of the most popular people at your yard and in the same stroke can cause you a series of dilemmas on how to say no when someone asks to borrow your prized possession.

So, if someone asks to borrow your horse trailer, aside from any personal feelings you may have about the person or aside from any issues of trust with regard to them looking after it, you may ask what the legal situation is.

Although I had a fair idea myself on what the risks are I contacted a number of companies who provide horse trailer insurance and ran it by them.

The insurers fell into two camps, those who won’t cover you at all under these circumstances and those who would cover part of the risks involved dependent upon the individual circumstances at the time and the level of cover provided by your policy.

Insurance companies refer to circumstances as risks and the main risks in loaning your trailer to a third party are as follows:

None of the insurers would cover you if you were to accept any form of payment or reward from the person you loaned your trailer to, whether this is for a few hours or a day.  This is very much classed as “Hire & Reward” for which you need commercial policy cover. Whether you are an individual attempting to make a few pounds by loaning out your trailer or a large commercial company undertaking this practice you need a proper policy that would cover risks for “hire & reward”. Typically this type of policy will also incorporate public liability cover and product liability cover. If you don’t have this cover then be prepared to lose your house or anything else you own if you are sued by another insurance company.

The circumstance which we can all relate to is if a friend asks to “borrow” your trailer for the day to go to a show then one of the following happens:

a) Your trailer is stolen from them at the show or at their yard – under these circumstances some insurers would pay out providing the person borrowing it had used the approved security devices stipulated in your policy, but the majority would not pay out citing that your policy would become void as soon as you loaned your trailer to someone else thus breaching the terms of your policy.

b) Your trailer was damaged by the person borrowing it and they could not afford to pay you for the damage – Most insurers again advised that they would not pay out under these circumstances and only one said they would pay out but it would be for “accidental damage” only. So if another vehicle or horse damaged it whilst in your friend’s control and your friend could not get recompense themselves from that third party then you would be left with a damaged trailer.

c) The person borrowing your trailer alleged that as a result of using your trailer their horse or indeed they had suffered an injury whilst in it and they tried to take legal action against you, would the insurers of your trailer assist you in defending any such claim? – There was a unanimous no from all the insurers to this question. You would then be defending any such case funded from your own pocket which if it were a personal injury claim could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The other factor you have to take into account even with the more favourable insurers’ responses is that they all will have a reasonable care clause in their policy, which means that if the person borrowing it was deemed to have been reckless under any circumstances which led to a claim then the insurers again could, and probably would, refuse to pay out.

In my opinion insurers of horse trailers are providing a fairly good level of cover for a reasonable price these days given the litigious society we all live in but never take anything thing for granted. Always read the policy documents sent to you and make sure you understand exactly what you are covered for and under what circumstances.

I would advise the owner of any horse trailer to contact their insurers and obtain a written response to what their individual stance or policy terms are before lending your trailer out to a friend. This certainly is a case of being safe rather than sorry, broke and minus a friend!

This article was written by Mark Unsworth a director at Horse Trailer Parts Direct

Horse Trailer Parts Direct

Horse Trailer Parts Direct provide a comprehensive range of horse trailer parts online in the UK. Our horse trailer spares are all oraganised in to categories to help you find exactly what you want. Simply move your mouse cursor over the category links at the top of this page to see a drop down menu of our categories. We provide parts for Ifor Williams horse trailers in addition to other popular brands and setups. So, if you're looking for parts for trailers or any kind of trailer accessories please take a look at our website to find what you need. If you any questions please call us on 01305 269393 and we'd be delighted to help you.

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