Tribute to Simon

Simon Hutton, 39, only son of Mary (founder of Free The Bears Fund) and Ron Hutton, was fatally injured when knocked down by a car in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on 22nd June 2005.

Simon's role in Cambodia was Project Director for the Fund. He was in charge of building a vet clinic and working with the bear keepers in our sanctuary in the Phnom Tamao Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Rescue Centre and had been in Cambodia since the end of January 2005.

Mary was fortunate enough to get to the hospital in time having already booked a ticket to Singapore for a flight on Thursday morning to meet with Kartick and Geeta from Wildlife SOS for talks. Mary arrived in Phnom Penh at 5.30pm on Thursday and was helped through airport controls by an official from the Australian Embassy and went straight to the hospital.

Simon was on a life support system and in a deep coma and the hospital staff were doing all they could to keep him alive until Mary arrived. Once at his bedside, Mary told Simon that they (Ron and Mary) loved him and was so proud of what he was doing. Simon so very sadly died on Friday morning 24th June without having regained consciousness.

Simon had just bought a car for the fund when knocked down. The driver was arrested but released later after Mary stated the driver would not be sued - Simon would not have wanted that and it would not change the outcome, only add to the misery.

Simon was a gentle, warm-hearted person who sat up all night and bottle fed a baby sun bear that was dehydrated and listless. Further, it was Simon who was responsible for getting Free The Bears Fund started. One evening in 1993 he yelled "Mum you have to see this on TV. Mary saw a little bear in a cage banging his head against a bar of a cage and that was the first she knew of bears in bile farms - it went from there.

Mary says: "We never knew there could be so much pain - we loved him so much and will miss him beyond words."