Our 'be the change' award this month goes to a real life deity - the goddess of Gurkhas - Ms Joanna Lumley. We have, however, not chosen her for this one outstanding ethical and humanitarian achievement, but rather for 63 years lived as an inspiration. A vegetarian and animal rights campaigner Ms Lumley has long been the champion of those without a voice of their own.
Much like her own soft sultry voice, she compares her firm but diplomatic approach to the subtle power of water, quoted in an interview in the Guardian - "The thing about water is it's strong," she says. "And a river running down, if you dam it, it'll break the dam. So find a way round, but don't stop something. And if you can find a way round it's usually much better. And people don't get hurt – there's no reason for that. And people don't lose face, which is terribly important. But if a change of mind can take place in their own minds, rather than being forced to it, I think it's the best way to do anything." She pauses. "I'm a vegetarian and I long for people to eat less meat," she adds, "but the thing to do is not to go, 'Eat! Less! Meat!" It's to say I am fit as a flea and I'm 63, I haven't eaten meat for 40 years, and I never get diseases, I'm never ill, and I'm full of energy. So how's about that?"
Ms Lumley does not limit her good work and support to the small and fluffy, few people realise that she supports 60 charities including Wateraid to Tibetan refugees, orphanages and schools, Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa and is a patron of the Born Free Foundation. A firm believer in standing for good, she said in the same Guardian interview - "(It's) terribly easy to be bad! It's easy-peasy to kill something or break it! I've never been remotely impressed by people with guns killing people in films" Always one to walk her talk, she famously distracted an armed man in a bar, chatting quietly to him till the police could arrive.
Glamorous and fearless, Joanna Lumley is not just our 'be the change' winner, but our hero too!