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"'I'm very particular which charities I support,'
Wendy once explained. 'I think that before you
encourage people to spend money you've got to remember that you're
responsible for the way that money is spent. And I like to know
what the charity is involved in and where the money goes. It's
important that it isn't frittered away on frivolous things.'"
(from an interview in Yours, May 2002)
After John Inman -- a colleague and close friend of Wendy's for many years -- passed away in early 2007, Wendy joined many other entertainers on 30 September 2007 in what appears to have been a stage show in his honor. The show was presented by the Grand Order of Water Rats and the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund, so it was almost certainly in the benefit of charity. Here is the flyer for the event.
On the afternoon of 10 July 2007, Wendy attended a garden party held, unusually, on the grounds of Westminster Abbey in London. The event recognized the 20th anniversary of the Lady Taverners charitable organization, founded in 1987. Hello magazine (issue #987) has a page dedicated to the party, as well as a lovely photo of a casually-dressed Wendy.
Starting sometime in mid-2006, a couple of different signed publicity photos of Wendy from the 1970s have been occasionally offered on online auction sites, with proceeds going to the charity The Strong Trust.
In mid-2006, Wendy, along with a number of her colleagues from EastEnders, appeared in an issue of Radio Times, attired as -- of all things! -- characters from various Shakespeare plays. A wall calendar of the photos is offered via the BBC online shop in December of 2006, with sale proceeds benefiting the BBC Children in Need Appeal.
On a website dedicated to Caesar, a particular dog provided via the Dogs for the Disabled charity, there are a couple of nice photos of Wendy with Caesar and his owner. One, from late-2004 is here (halfway down the page), and the other, from late-2003, is here (second photo from the bottom).
Wendy's support of animal welfare is well-documented. On the Alternatives page of the Stevenage Animal Rights website (archived link) Wendy is mentioned -- along with other luminaries such as Sir Derek Jacobi and Dr. Patrick Moore -- as a supporter of the Dr. Hadwen Trust. This Trust seeks to develop alternative research methods which do not involve the use of animal experimentation.
An article from 15 May 2005 at the People.co.uk website notes Wendy's participation in a drawing competition in benefit of Dogs for the Disabled, a charity with which Wendy has had a long association. This may be an annual event; the organization offered on eBay as recently as November of 2006 a pencil sketch of Wendy's.
While your webmeister has never spoken the words "barbeque" and "Europe" in the same sentence in his life, that will certainly have to change, considering the information offered on the British National BBQ 2005 website. But more to the point, that site also has a Celebrity Recipe section, and therein may be found a recipe for luscious cheesecake provided by Wendy (and offered, like the other celeb entries, "in support of The Variety Club Children’s Charity"). Wendy's entry (likely from 2003, judging from the page's URL), is accompanied by a very nice photo (of her, that is).
In early November 2003, Wendy (and her cairn terrier, Miss Brahms) did a shoot for a 2004 calendar benefiting the DPSA animal charity. There is a small version of her elegant photo (which graces the page for January 2004) on Wendy's official website (archived link). The calendars were for sale to the public on the DPSA shopping page (archived link).
In late November 2003, Wendy again attended the Discover Dogs convention in London. She's mentioned here (archived link) a couple of times, about halfway down the page. Her participation seems to have been in connection with her long-standing involvement with Dogs For the Disabled.
The Westminster (Central London) City Council noted on its website a news item (no longer present) that in early 2003, Wendy pitched in to help an elderly widower on behalf of the "Canalside Club for over 60s".
In late November 2002, Wendy attended the Grand Order of Water Rats fund-raising ball, an annual event that is one of many the organization sponsors for good causes. This is almost certainly not the first GOWR ball she's been to.
Mid-October 2002 saw Wendy, among others, honored by the Variety Club, a charitable organization she has supported for many years.
In July of 2002, the UK branch of the Variety Club publicized (archived link) a Tribute Lunch in Wendy's honor on 8 October 2002. Here's a photo from the event (41k). I mention it here, since the event reflects the recognition Wendy's received for her participation in that most worthy of charities. Her own take on it: "If you get something out of life, you should put something back in. The Variety Club helps thousands of sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and I've been involved in it for more than 30 years."
In late May and early June of 2002, The Teen Cancer Trust held their 2nd Annual Bandanna Week (archived link), to raise public awareness that cancer is not just an affliction of the elderly. Happily, many artists and celebrities chose to participate (archived link) in this effort, Wendy (and other EastEnders cast members) among them, as may be seen here (archived link). This unnamed participant (archived link) looks very familiar!
Although I'm not sure of the date of Wendy's involvement (it may be on-going), she is listed as a contributor to CHICKS (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids).
In the summer of 2001, Wendy attended a fund-raising event at the Grosvenor House Hotel (London), benefiting the British Forces Foundation. The BFF website provides some additional details (archived link) and even has a small picture of Wendy (archived link) and other guests.
A photo of Wendy, who has participated in RUKBA activities in previous years, appears on that charity's homepage, as well as elsewhere.
Here's a set of photos (archived link) of what appears to be a National Canine Defense League (now called Dogs Trust) dog show / fashion show. Wendy evidently attended, since she's in a couple of the shots. This was probably mid- or late-2001, but I'm not certain yet.
The 2000 edition of DK's
Guide to Living With A Dog (from the publisher's KISS series)
contains a short, but extremely insight-laden, foreword penned by Wendy.
It is probably not, strictly speaking, a piece of a charity work on Ms
Richard's part; nevertheless, I suspect she was asked to write the
foreword based on her well-known concern for canine welfare. Wendy
encourages the reader to "enjoy and cherish
your dog and you will have a friend for life, who will ask you no
questions and tell you no lies."
Perhaps most poignantly of all, she notes that one of the things having
a dog has taught her is that "there is
always another heartbeat there at home with you." What a beautiful sentiment!
Note that only the UK edition of this book includes Wendy's contribution. The US edition, though nearly identical in appearance, has a foreword written by American actress Mary Tyler Moore.
For two consecutive years, in November of 2000 and 2001, Wendy was
at the Discover Dogs convention in London. A number of organizations
present specifically noted her attendance. At the 2000 convention, she
took the time to endorse opposition to recent German legislation banning
specific "dangerous" dog breeds. (I figure that Wendy's involvement
stemmed from her sincere concern for canine welfare; hence, this mention
on the charity page . . .) Here are the sites which mention her:
In a newsletter (archived link) dated January 2001, "by and for members of the RSPCA", Wendy is mentioned as in support of an initiative to end the cruelty to (or the use of) animals in circuses (first article after the political stuff at the front). Note: the other articles in the newsletter are very frank about animal suffering; more sensitive readers may find the write-ups difficult to read.
Ms. Richard joined an illustrious list of other British entertainers and sportsmen in 2000 to appear in a book by Kevin Horkin: Star Dogs: What the Celebrities Think About Their Pets. This book, the proceeds of which go to The Pet Role Trust and other animal charities, is rich with photos and articles about people and their pets. Wendy speaks on the possibility of getting her little Shirley onto EastEnders, about the responsibilities of dog owners in general, and addresses what attributes makes a particular breed a good type of family pet.
In 2000, Wendy was on the judging panel for the Golden Bonio Awards, 2000 for the charity Newfound Friends. The links to the event are gone now, but Heat magazine did capture a pic of her appearance with Izzie, the award winner.
Ms. Richard provides a lead-in endorsement for the Supporters Club of the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). Her full quote is on the Celebrity page.
A work which enjoys a prominent mention on Wendy's own website is the Round the World Yacht Race for the Gift of Life Commemorative Trust (archive link).
It was brought to my attention by an EastEnders viewer recently that Wendy's character of Pauline Fowler (as well as possibly other characters seen around Albert Square) have been sporting small, modest golden heart lapel pins. These are almost certainly connected with the Gold Heart Appeal that is a central part of the real-life Variety Fund's children's' charity. Wendy is honored at, and quoted on, the Variety Club's Hall of Fame web page. (Archived link - Scroll about halfway down the page...)
On 15 November 2000, the BBC online carried an article (about two-thirds of the way down the page) describing Wendy's donation to a charity to help with the costs for some surgery needed by a child.
Around September 2000, Wendy pitched in to help out in the intriguingly-named "Scribble a Squirrel" competition (this link, now archived, is actually to a Sean Bean fan site; he submitted an entry too. . .) in benefit of a group of British wildlife charity trusts to help save the endangered Red Squirrel. Wendy's cute sketch (8k) was auctioned on the QXL online auction site (archived link). Her drawing is an ink-signed work done in pencil on light blue paper and, she says, took about fifteen minutes in one attempt to execute.
On 16 July 2000, she participated in the Flora Light Women's
Challenge footrace for charity in London's Hyde Park. The
event is described
(archived link) in the Girl Power section of the RealRunner web
site (which appears to now be defunct). Wendy used
to have some photos from the event on her own website.
There is also reference to Wendy's presence (archived link) at the 2001 Light Challenge at the Spinal Injury Association old website.
And this photo is of her at the 1999 Flora Light Challenge
Wendy contributes to another cook book for charity The QMC Education Base Celebrity Cook Book, which was issued, possibly in 1999, to purchase equipment for a program at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham so that children who are patients can be offered a relatively normal daytime schoolroom environment. As before, Wendy offered her "Chilli [sic] con Carne", the secret ingredient of which is Meuniers cooking chocolate!
In 1999 she was mentioned as having appeared on September 19th at the "Cairn Terrier Relief Fund Fun Day" (archived copy) event held at Ferndown, Dorset.
In an undated article, the old website for NatureWatch mentioned Wendy as an official celebrity supporter, as well as being in support in 1999 of an on-going campaign to initiate a Royal Commission to look into animal experiments.
As another recipe contribution for an excellent cause, Wendy pitches in with her tried-and-true "Jersey Bean Crock" for the cookbook Star Turns In the Kitchen: Famous People's Favourite Foods, issued in 1998 in support of the NSPCC. Though it appears that many of the contributors couldn't be bothered to offer additional information, Wendy includes a number of cooking tips, such as "I like creating new dishes; this mainly means pouring more wine into things" and "I loath cleaning pans after scrambling eggs; this is the time to let the men into the kitchen."
In an online interview with Briton Paul Burrell (archived link -- about half-way down the page) and also in an article about British model Twiggy (archived link), Wendy is mentioned in passing as having attended in November of 1998 as a guest a "Masquerade Ball held at the Grosvener House Hotel London, in aid of the Princess Diana Memorial Fund." The event, with photos, was also reported on in OK! magazine, issue 137 (20 Nov 98).
1997 found Wendy contributing another of her personal recipes in support of a good cause. The Homestead Food For Thought cookbook was published to help fund modernizations of the St. Luke's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. The recipe is for "Millie Davidson's Cheese Cake", and Wendy explains that "Millie Davidson was a Jewish widow who lived in the same block of flats as I did. She told me that for years [she] and her husband had a cream cheese factory in the East End of London."
A breast canceer awareness website (at "hosted.aware.easynet.co.uk" -- which is no longer valid) noted on its Upcoming Events page that a Ball was to be held in May 1997 for the ABC organization. Wendy was identified as a Special Guest, along with other luminaries such as Lady McCartney, David Jason, Richard Briers, Ruby Wax, and Richard Wilson. The Ball was to occur at the Whitbread Brewery on 17 May 1997. I presently have no further information as to whether she actually attended this event or not.
For the book Pot Luck: Recipes from the Stars, commissioned in 1995 in support of the Autistic Unit of Oak Lodge School in north London, Wendy contributed a recipe for "Chilli [sic] con Carne" fortified with, yes, chocolate. Lenny Henry's "Killer Chilli", which appears on the facing page, is not. Sorry, Lenny . . .
In early September of 1989,
the host of the BBC gameshow
was given the task to "produce a book for
Friends of the Earth called
The Recycled Joke Book. They want 10,000 copies and you
need to deliver the books in time for a launch at 8 o-clock tomorrow
night." She apparently met the challenge successfully by calling
on people and businesses throughout the UK for support, both for the
means to print and bind the book as well as for the 57 pages-worth of
jokes that fill it. Pages 12 and 13 dish up the humor from the
cast of EastEnders, with Wendy providing the following:
"Doctor, doctor, my brother thinks he's an apple."
"Well, bring him in to see me."
"I have -- he's in my pocket."
In 1988, the Edinburgh-based Leukaemia and Children's Cancer Fund
charity assembled an impressive celebrity cookbook to raise money for
the fund. The list of contributors -- mostly, though not all, British --
spanned the fields of government, entertainment, journalism, sports, and
culinary professionals. Some of those who contributed recipes were Bob
Hope, Nancy Reagan, The Prince of Wales, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Cliff Richard, Johnny Cash, Lenny Henry, then-Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher, Diana Rigg, Henry Winkler, Gillian Tayleforth, and, of course,
Wendy offered "Jersey Bean Crock", and she described this relatively simple ham-and-bean amalgamation as a "traditional Channel Island dish." Speaking about this many years later, Wendy notes the dish was not a particular favorite of hers, "just a good recipe."