Yorkshire businesswoman to swap sweet shop for Borneo jungle to help injured orangutans

Older orangutans at the orphanage
Older orangutans at the orphanage

A businesswoman from Helmsley is planning the final details of her second trip to Borneo next month to deliver much-needed medical supplies to two orangutan rescue centres.

Lynn Hempsall from the Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop has raised more than £2,000 to help Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID) raise a total of £30,000 to buy a digital x-ray machine and generator for the vets at the rehabilitation centre in Ketapang, Borneo, run by International Animal Rescue.

Budi happy and healthy at the sanctuary

Budi happy and healthy at the sanctuary

The equipment will allow them to treat the injured and rescued orangutans quicker, putting less stress on the animals.

The x-ray machine, along with other urgently needed medical supplies, will travel with Lynn and other volunteers for OVAID, who have all self-funded their trips.

The trip also involves a visit to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) centre in central Borneo which is where the BBC’s Orangutan Diaries and Channel 4’s Orangutan Jungle School are both filmed.

The area around both centres has recently suffered serious forest fires, similar to those seen in the Amazon, where vast swathes of land are burned to make room for palm oil plantations and farming. The fires destroy the homes and food supplies of the orangutans and often leave them stranded and starving.

Lynn said: “It’s been a difficult time for the rescue centres and the forest fires make the already sizeable demands on their services even more great.

"I am taking an entire extra suitcase full of medical equipment for the orangutan babies that have struggled with the polluted air from the fires.

“To be honest, this isn’t a trip I thought I’d do again – it was hard last time, and I struggled with the long journey and horrendous mosquito bites!

"But when I was approached to go back I found I couldn’t say no – and seeing what a tough time they’re having over there, I’m very glad to be able to take these supplies they so desperately need.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has donated, it means such a lot.

"Every penny raised goes directly to the care of the orangutans.”

The two-week long trip will see Lynn trek into the Borneo jungle at Nyaru Mentang to see if any of the previously released orangutans can be spotted in the ‘safe’ areas, as well as doing overnight boat trips to the islands where the orangutans go in preparation for being released.

Finally, she will spend two days trekking and sleeping in the jungle, before reaching Ketapang and the International Animal Rescue centre where she spent a month in 2015, to deliver the equipment.

Lynn added: “I am really hoping we get to see the orangutans coming back from jungle school so I can catch sight of Budi, Jemmi and Gito, the tiny rescued babies that were there when I was.”

Lynn has raised more than £2,000 through competitions, sponsored runs, bake sales and even an orangutan-themed selfie frame.

She will be taking part in her final fundraising event on Sunday (Oct 13), competing in a 5K run at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Lynn or donate money to the OVAID fund can do so here or in person at the Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop.

The shop is also selling £1 charity bags of banana foam sweets to help add to the fundraising efforts.

Nigel Hicks, vet and co-founder of OVAID, said: "We have to say a huge thank you to our supporters and fundraisers who have made this donation possible."