Award win for Friends of the Earth lawyer memorial fund

A fund set up in memory of Friends of the Earth’s head lawyer has won a prestigious fundraising award. 

The Phil Michaels Legal Internship Fund won Best In-Memoriam Campaign at the Institute of Fundraising Awards 2016.

The fund was launched in February to support 2 paid 6-month legal internships per year. 

It was established as a memorial for Phil Michaels (main picture) who was Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth from 2001-2010. The leading environmental lawyer died in August 2014, aged 42.

The judges said: “This campaign really struck us as a perfectly fitting tribute to a former colleague. The momentum behind the campaign is fantastic, allowing them to achieve their target 2 years ahead of schedule.”

The target was to raise £25,000 per year to fund the scheme, initially for 3 years. However within 2 weeks of launch, the target for year 1 was exceeded and within 3 months of launch, enough money had been raised to fund year 2.

To date, the fund already has half the money required for year 3.

Brenda Allanson
Major Partnerships Manager Brenda Allanson with the Institute of Fundraising award

A champion of wildlife laws

Phil’s family has fully supported and contributed to the campaign that will help continue his ground-breaking work.

Phil championed respecting laws that protect wildlife and the right of people to have a say about what happens where they live.

His achievements included a successful legal challenge against plans for “ghost ships” – deteriorating US naval vessels due to be scrapped in Hartlepool.

The ships were contaminated with chemicals, including asbestos, heavy diesel and carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were once widely used as coolant fluids in electrical apparatus.

Another of his legacies was establishing Friends of the Earth's Rights & Justice Centre – the UK's first pro bono or affordable legal advice centre for environmental public law.

Lawyer Phil Michaels