It’s not every day you receive a letter from your idol, but University of Northampton student, Saadia Khan was lucky enough to receive a handwritten reply from Sir David Attenborough in return for the letter she gave him at a recent TV recording to mark his 90th birthday and extraordinary career.
Mature student, Saadia is about to complete the final year of her BSc (Hons) in Wildlife Conservation course and cites Sir David as the reason why she decided on a career change from a senior TV producer into conservation. After winning tickets to be part of the audience of a special recording of the BBC’s Inspiring Attenborough at 90, Saadia took the opportunity to pass on a letter to Sir David expressing how much he has inspired her own ambitions.
She said: “The recording was very intimate and I was able to listen to Sir David discussing everything he has achieved throughout his career and how he has inspired so many people around the world. I feel so privileged to have been part of something so historic and was thrilled when I received a handwritten letter back from him saying how delighted he was that his programmes have played an important role in my choice of career.
“Since I made a move into conservation work, I have had some amazing experiences. I recently spent a couple of months on the Amazon conducting field research on the pink and grey Peruvian River dolphins for a research paper I wrote. I am thankful to Sir David since it is his hard work and dedication to wildlife conservation throughout the years that has given me the confidence to follow my true passion and curiosity for the natural world. His excitement for nature is contagious and I hope he continues to inspire future generations. He’s a truly altruistic man, my idol.”
Jeff Ollerton, Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Northampton, commented: “Sir David has been an inspiration to several generations of scientists and conservation professionals. He has certainly inspired me, and it’s wonderful to see him taking time to encourage the next generation of conservationists.”