Ricky Gervais helps animal charity founded in Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 17:39 17 January 2017 | UPDATED: 08:59 18 January 2017

Pen and Hannah in Afghanistan

Pen and Hannah in Afghanistan


Ricky Gervais has pledged to donate gig profits to animal charity Nowzad, which was founded in Exmouth,

Pen and Hannah at home in Tiverton with Nowzad and TaliPen and Hannah at home in Tiverton with Nowzad and Tali

Comedian Ricky Gervais has pledged to donate profits from two gigs to a dog charity founded in Exmouth.

The funny man, a known champion of animal rights, revealed through Twitter he was splitting the profits from this week’s two warm-up gigs between Nowzad and the All Dogs Matter charities.

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing originally set up the Nowzad charity in Exmouth after returning from serving as Troop Sergeant in the Royal Marines in Afghanistan, where in 2006 he rescued several starving and abandoned dogs - despite this being strictly against orders. He called Ricky’s generosity ‘amazing’.

Pen, who runs the charity from bases in Tiverton, Devon, USA and Afghanistan with his partner Hannah Surowinski, and help from supporters and volunteers, said: “All of us here at Nowzad are extremely happy that Ricky has used his fame for good to promote an animal welfare charity like ourselves as well as financially donating to support our vital work in Afghanistan. Amazing stuff Mr Gervais.”


Ricky said in a video on Facebook: “I’m donating the profit from one show to Nowzad. That’s a tiny charity that goes out and saves dogs in Afghanistan.

“It’s a few people that do it, that’s their life. They’re the people that are actually doing stuff; I’m just tweeting about it and giving some cash.

“But they’re the people that do it, and they’re amazing - they’re amazing, they’re doing things that I would be terrified to actually do myself.”

Pen was inspired to start the charity after saving a dog from a dog fighting ring.


He named the dog Nowzad and managed to transport the animal back to the UK. The dog became the inspiration behind the charity.

In setting up the charity, Pen said his main mission was to help the ‘huge numbers’ of animals left to fend for themselves in a war-torn country where animal welfare was seen of little consequence.

He also set up the only officially sanctioned animal rescue shelter and clinic in Afghanistan in 2011 with the aim of educating children about animal welfare through visits.

Nowzad currently has more than 150 dogs in its care at its shelter in Afghanistan, plus more than 40 cats and six rescued donkeys.

The charity has 21 Afghan-national staff at its shelter and clinic, including four vets. It offers extensive education programs including veterinarian training, rabies reduction and outreach projects.

To date Nowzad charity has reunited more than 900 solders with dogs and cats they adopted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Kuwait.

Some six dogs rescued off the streets of Afghanistan by the charity have become fully fledged service dogs, providing comfort to veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

• For more information on Nowzad, visit www.nowzad.com.

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