Meryl was born in London, but moved to Zimbabwe with her parents when she was aged 9. She was the Chief Inspector at the Zimbabwe National Society for the Protection of Animals (ZNSPCA) for several years and was instrumental in carrying out the rescues of thousands of animals from farms from which owners had been forcibly evicted during the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe. Meryl was often in terrible danger and endured threats of violence in her and her colleague’s attempts to rescue these helpless animals, but despite being in her 60s and suffering from a heart condition, she never ever gave up. Meryl joined VAWZ in 2010 until she retired to the UK.
Meryl Harrison has won international recognition for her courageous work and some of her awards include:
- 2002 – RSPCA (UK) Overseas Gallantry Award.
- 2002 – Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club (UK) Special Presentation for Recognition of Work in Rescuing Animals in Distress.
- 2002 – BBC Special Award for Outstanding Work in Animal Welfare (together with Addmore Chinhembe).
- 2003 – Rotary Foundation of Rotary International – Harare Club – Paul Harris Fellow.
- 2003 – International Fund for Animal Welfare/Animal Talk – Action Award.
- 2004 – St Anne’s Diocesan College Old Girls Guild (South Africa) – St Anne Award for Dedicated Service Above & Beyond the Call of Duty.
- 2005 – The Zimbabwean Kennel Club – Lifetime Achievement Award.
- 2006 – Rotary Foundation of Rotary International – Borrowdale Brook Club – Paul Harris Fellow.
To learn more about Meryl and the work she has carried out in the past, you might be interested in reading a book that was written about her, Innocent Victims: