Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has provided substantial sponsorship for a major project to highlight the merits of the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories.
The international businessman and philanthropist has supported Stewart McPherson, the naturalist and explorer, who has, over a three-year period, visited all of the Overseas Territories to film and photograph their wildlife, landscapes and cultural heritage for a three-part BBC documentary series.
Lord Ashcroft has specifically provided the funding to enable Britain’s Treasure Islands, a book that accompanies the documentary series, to be donated free of charge to every secondary school in the UK and the Overseas Territories – that’s 5,350 schools in all.
Lord Ashcroft, who has donated a substantial amount to charitable causes, said: “I am delighted to give my backing to this exciting and worthwhile project which combines two of my great passions – education and travel.
“I congratulate Stewart McPherson on completing this wonderful assignment and I am delighted to play my part in enabling secondary school students to read about the wildlife, landscapes, peoples and cultures of the UK’s Overseas Territories. This book is packed with informative and interesting information, including areas relating to GCSE and A-Level curriculums.”
In the past, Lord Ashcroft has funded several multi-million pound educational projects, with support for ventures both in the UK and abroad. He has also personally visited nearly 150 countries, including several of the UK’s Overseas Territories.
There are 14 British Overseas Territories, and many were former colonies. They are under the sovereignty of the UK but do not form part of the UK itself.
Britain’s Treasure Islands is a beautifully-produced, 700-page, coffee-table book full of colour photographs. It is being published in association with the three-part documentary series of the same name that was shown on BBC4 earlier this year.
Stewart McPherson said: “It’s unfortunate that so few Britons are aware of their country’s overseas heritage. I completed the Britain’s Treasure Islands documentary series and book with the aim or raising awareness on the subject.
“The UK Overseas Territories are an amazing side of the United Kingdom that few know exist. Scattered across all seven seas, the territories comprise an area seven times the size of the British Isles and are home to 350,000 British subjects, as well as lush tropical rainforests, arid deserts, polar ice fields and pristine coral reefs.”
See a short film on Britain’s Treasure Islands, including Lord Ashcroft’s involvement in the project.
For more information on Britain’s Treasure Islands, the documentary series and book, visit www.BritainsTreasureIslands.com. The documentary series can be bought on DVD and the book (including a special collectors’ edition) can also be purchased.
Stewart McPherson has produced 42 “mini-documentary” films exploring the territories that can be watched free of charge online.
Follow Lord Ashcroft on Twitter @LordAshcroft.