A TV and film actor and producer will be among those holding a series of free talks at Horsham’s first vegan fair this weekend.
Dan Richardson, best known for ‘The Lodge’, ‘Kill Kane’ and ‘Retribution’, will be talking about his work as an ambassador for Horsham-based charity the Born Free Foundation at the event on Saturday.
Dan, who has been vegan himself for around three years, will also be discussing veganism.
He said: “The reason everything is intrinsically linked for me is because compassion isn’t species specific, which I the point I try to get across.
“I will be talking about my experience in both of those different areas, in terms why I feel it’s important to speak up for animals and protect wildlife, and why I also feel the same way about the vegan movement and promoting a foundation of kindness and compassion for all animals whether that be a chicken or a rhinoceros.
“I don’t have any presentation or preconceived idea for my talk so I’m very happy to talk for 15 minutes and open it up for discussion so I know that I’m answering questions that people actually have.”
Vegan Fest Horsham is set to take place at the Drill Hall in Denne Road from 10.30am until 4.30pm, with Dan’s talk taking place at 1.15pm.
The fair will be a celebration of all things vegan – from chocolates, beer, beauty products, cakes, books, household items and stalls offering general advice on a vegan lifestyle, as well as a number of catering stalls offering a wide range of hot and cold foods.
Dan added: “One of the reasons I’m vegan is because I felt I was being hypocritical, saying ‘help me save this species but fry this one and serve it to me in a burger bun’, so it’s that I want to cover.
“I’m always honoured when I get the opportunity to talk about these things because it’s the closest thing to my heart.
“It’s my purpose in life and I’ll take every opportunity I can to promote the cause.”
With the rapidly growing interest in the benefits of a plant-based diet, organiser Helen Crabb explained why she was bringing the event in the town.
She said: “I‘ve been vegan for 35 years, having been vegetarian since a small girl.
“I have lived in Horsham for many years but have always had to travel to Brighton or London to visit vegan fairs, however with all the recent interest in veganism, I felt that Horsham was just about ready to host its own fair.
“I’ve had a great response so far, which is amazing - it’s a bit of a dream come true. I’ve never organised anything like this before, so am slightly anxious about it, but also very excited at the same time.”
Horsham-based nutritionist Julie Stewart, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the pharmaceutical industry, will also be presenting a talk on ‘using food as medicine’ at 12.30pm.
She said: “Combining the ancient wisdoms of traditional health philosophies with the recent advances in today’s nutritional science, we can adopt a holistic approach, taking the power back for our own health.
“I will be looking at some of our most commonly prescribed medicines and comparing with natural foods, herbs and supplements, to ask ourselves, is there a better way?”
Entrance to the fair is £2 per person (under 16s free) and all profits will be going jointly to the Born Free Foundation and Animals Asia (UK registered charities).
Other talks will include ‘the ethics of veganism’ and ‘is it safe to feed your child a vegan diet?’ by Rosalind Graham, ‘peaceful activism’ by Konstantinos Kotsonis, ‘safer medicines - human focused medical research’ by Dr Andrea Wraith and ‘simple steps to transitioning to a plant-based diet’ by Karen Lee.
As well as this, most of the stallholders at the fair will be coming from West and East Sussex, something organiser Helen says was decided with the aim to keep the fair as environmentally as possible.
She added: “Vegan Fest Horsham is for everyone - vegans, non-vegans and anyone who is just a little bit interested in what a plant-based lifestyle entails
“So whether you are a fully-fledged vegan or just need some ideas or a bit of inspiration for a vegan friend or relative, do come along and take a look.”
Visit Vegan Fest Horsham’s Facebook page or email email@example.com