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Wildlife Aid's Simon Cowell on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:09 20 February 2013

Simon Cowell, founder of Leatherhead-based animal charity Wildlife Aid

Simon Cowell, founder of Leatherhead-based animal charity Wildlife Aid

Not to be confused with the X Factor supremo of the same name, Simon Cowell is the co-founder of Leatherhead charity Wildlife Aid. When he's not at work, he tries his best to relax, but being at the beck and call of the local wildlife can make lif...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2009

Not to be confused with the X Factor supremo of the same name, Simon Cowell is the co-founder of Leatherhead charity Wildlife Aid. When he's not at work, he tries his best to relax, but being at the beck and call of the local wildlife can make life a little, er, hectic...


It's hard for me to summarise a typical weekend because being the co-founder of Wildlife Aid, there is no such thing. Unfortunately, wildlife has no concept of Monday to Friday working hours and therefore I'm at the animals' beck and call 24/7. Not that I would have it any other way, of course...

However, the great thing about living in Surrey is that there is so much right on my doorstep. It means I can go out for the day and still be close to the centre, should I receive an emergency call.

Fundraising and filming

As we're desperately trying to raise funds for the charity at the moment and filming for our TV series, Wildlife SOS, my weeks are extremely manic. By the time Friday night rolls around, I'm often ready to kick back in front of the TV with a Bacardi and Coke or two and, if I've had time to pop down there during the week, some fresh food from Garsons Farm Shop in Esher. With the dogs curled at my feet, I tend to light a log fire and watch whatever's on the box, through my eyelids, of course - it's just one of my many talents.

Time for walkies

My dogs love to swim in the river just across the road from us in Leatherhead on River Lane. It's so pretty down there and the ideal place to grab some deep breaths during the week. Being surrounded by beautiful countryside in Surrey, there is never a shortage of places to go. Headley Heath is one of my favourite spots, as the view across the valley, which comes down into Leatherhead, is captivating. I also like to take a stroll around Virginia Water Lake whenever I can. The dogs love it there as it's the ideal opportunity for them to get muddy and wet and shake themselves over me. Once home and de-mucked from the walk, I find any excuse to visit Claremont Landscape Gardens between Cobham and Esher and have a wander around the flowers and fruit trees. I usually end up coming home with something. Wisley Gardens is also a favourite haunt of mine and the caf there sells sticky cakes to die for.

A day of rest

Under strict instructions from my family to relax more, I try to have lazy mornings with the Sunday papers and a cooked breakfast whenever possible. What tends to happen, though, is I munch on a slice of buttered toast as I negotiate my legs into my jeans, while on the phone to a concerned member of the public who's found an orphaned fawn. At the same time, attempting to write down their address on the back of my hand, all the while struggling to hear what they're saying over the noise of the dogs barking for their breakfast...

Once wildlife is dealt with, my girlfriend and I like to head out for a spot of lunch. One of our favourite restaurants is the Running Horses in Mickleham. It's one of those rare, oldy worldy pubs that's full of welcoming faces. The atmosphere is friendly, the pub regulars are always on hand to recommend the latest ale, the food is great and the village is brimming with history. Perfect.



  • Wildlife Aid, Randalls Farm House, Randalls Road, Leatherhead KT22 0AL. For more information, call 09061 800 132 or visit their website: www.wildlifeaid.org.uk






My Surrey Weekend is a monthly guest column in Surrey Life magazine, where we discover how some of the county's high profile characters spend their weekend. To catch up with the series, click here.






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