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Benjamin and his family moved to England from France and bought a big house so that they could take care of their mum.  Sadly, she passed away not long after and closely later he lost his wife suddenly too, aged just 40 from a brain tumour.  This left Benjamin lost and devastated with 2 children a large house and a large mortgage. 

The house came with land and some animals, so Benjamin decided to get more animals and turn it into a zoo. He wrote a book about his story and continued to struggle financially as he didn’t understand how expensive animals would cost plus staff etc.  The staff were a total essential, after he experienced an escaped jaguar just 4 days after the zoo opened!

One day when things were looking desperate with just 2 months mortgage payments left in the bank, he received a phone call from Hollywood.  At first, he thought it was a joke but after realising it wasn’t, he was asked ‘who would you like to play you in your film!’ What a question.  It turned out to be Matt Damon, and Scarlett Johansson played his wife.  

The reason Ben and his story struck a chord with me is not just because I could relate to the pressure of having having to make a situation work when struggling with bereavement, but I totally admired his ability to look at a situation so differently and be so brave.  It totally paid off for Benjamin and his children, as they all got to keep their home and have a zoo and an amazing team of zoo keepers.  Hollywood turned his story into a successful film and the funds continue to pay for the zoo, along with lots of other community event s that Benjamin hosts. 

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