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Neil Burnie charity aims to build on success

In less than 20 months the Neil Burnie Foundation has helped middle school students get their first taste of the open water, funded the tracking of turtles and provided vital financial support for Dr Burnie's own Bermuda Shark Project.

The charity, which was formed after Dr Burnie's sudden death in November 2014, is now looking to expand its work by helping primary children learn about the island's marine environment. This week the group's executive team are busy preparing for the Second Annual Neil Burnie Foundation Fundraiser that will take place on Thursday evening at the Mariners' Club in Hamilton.

Choy Aming, the foundation's vice-president, told The Royal Gazette that the money raised by the event would allow the charity to continue its involvement in existing partnerships as well as expand into new ones.

“It's been a successful first year or so for the Foundation, but we have high hopes of doing even more,” Mr Aming said.

“Last year's fundraiser allowed the Foundation to sponsor the Bermuda Zoological Society's Kids on the Reef programme that introduces children to their local marine environment, teaching them snorkelling and free-diving.

“A total of 166 children went through this fantastic programme this autumn.”

This year the Foundation has enabled a class of eight students to take part in the Waterstart educational programme run by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

It has also contributed funds towards The Bermuda Shark Project, which Dr Burnie founded, and now Mr Aming continues to run.

“The funds went towards the satellite tags that we attached this summer and for the ongoing satellite monitoring of the sharks once they've been tagged,” Mr Aming said.

“The research provides a better understanding of the sharks which are in the waters of Bermuda. In the upcoming year we look to continue our support to this programme.

Earlier this summer the Foundation also pledged funds to support the tracking of an adult Loggerhead turtle, called Daisy, that was nursed back to health at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

Mr Aming added: “We are working on a new project right now, but also hope to be able to continue the work we are already doing.

“The new project will be with primary schoolchildren and designed to introduce them to the marine environment around Bermuda, which was always Neil's passion.”

This Thursday's fundraiser will begin at 7pm and will include musical performances by local artists including Dr Burnie's old band Bones. Tickets cost $20 and are available at Ptix.bm

Man in his element: Neil Burnie is shown riding a rare six gilled shark for a scene in the series Ocean Vet, a 12-part series filmed in Bermuda

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Published November 29, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated November 29, 2016 at 7:14 am)

Neil Burnie charity aims to build on success

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