As recognition for her work in supporting the Orangutan Appeal UK, Ann Towse has been awarded one of two Amazon Stars prizes for 2023, winning a personalised Dream Box prize worth £1,500.
About Amazon Stars and its 2023 winners
Launched in 2020, Amazon Stars is a programme that celebrates employees who go above and beyond to do brilliant work for charities, colleagues, and their wider communities.
One of this year’s winners is Ann Towse from Lincoln, who was nominated for the Amazon Star award by her colleagues for her dedication to supporting the rehabilitation and preservation of orangutans through volunteering with the Orangutan Appeal UK.
Before joining Amazon, Ann volunteered with several educational and wildlife programmes throughout South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
With the pandemic putting her travel plans on hold, she returned to the UK in 2020 and decided to take on a role at Amazon — a decision she said is one of the best she’s ever made.
“When I quit my job to travel the world I hadn’t planned on returning to the UK any time soon,” Ann explained.
“My first role at Amazon was in one of the fulfilment centres in Doncaster, and I knew I’d found a role that was a good fit for me. I’ve been a permanent team member at Amazon for two years now, and transferred to the fulfilment centre in Wakefield to help launch the site last year, which was really exciting.”
Turning passion into action: Ann’s work with Orangutan Appeal UK
Ann’s global travels have inspired a passion for volunteering, now devoting much of her time to the charity Orangutan Appeal UK, which operates hand-in-hand with Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, dedicated to the rehabilitation of orphaned, injured or displaced orangutans, alongside conservation projects.
“Before I found Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre I’d taken part in a number of different international volunteering projects with other organisations, which I did to give back and make a difference,” she said. “During my first volunteering experience at Sepilok, I helped care for orphaned baby orangutans.”
After that initial experience, Ann dedicated more time to the orangutans and went on to study for a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Management, in which she achieved First-Class Honours.
Enthusiastic to return to the centre, Ann worked directly with the Orangutan Appeal UK for the first time in 2017, when she was appointed as their Liaison Officer. The role was a three-month-long volunteer post in Borneo, where she helped raise funds for the charity, educated thousands of visitors, and gave daily presentations on the charity’s work. While on sabbatical from her role at Amazon earlier this year, Ann took up the position for a second time.
Collectively, during her six months as Liaison Officer, she raised almost £50,000 for the charity and played a role in over 900 orangutan adoptions.
Ann continues to visit the centre whenever she can and regularly delivers presentations at UK universities to spread the word about the charity’s work. During Orangutan Caring Week, an annual awareness event, she had a stand in the foyer of the Amazon site in Wakefield to share the work of the Orangutan Appeal UK with her colleagues and encourage them to support the cause.
Ann was nominated by Sarah Osborne, General Manager’s Assistant at Wakefield, who said, “Ann’s work with Orangutan Appeal UK is really inspiring so the nomination was easy for me! She is a highly valued member of the team here at Amazon in Wakefield and I can’t think of anyone better to be an Amazon Star winner this year – I am so happy for her!”
As Ann’s prize for winning an Amazon Star award, she received a travel essentials kit worth £1,500, including a new action camera to document her next adventure. In addition, a donation of £2,000 was made to Orangutan Appeal UK on Ann’s behalf.
Amazon employees in the company’s UK and Ireland network do exceptional work to deliver for customers and extend their efforts to support their communities. So, in 2020, Amazon Stars was created to recognise and reward employees who go above and beyond both inside and outside of Amazon.
Hundreds of nominations were received in the UK and Ireland this year, with a huge number of inspiring stories of outstanding Amazon employees who go out of their way to help their colleagues, customers and communities.