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Iris Goldsmith: 'Everything I do is for her' says dad

The father of a girl killed in an accident on the family's farm says everything he does is for his daughter.

Iris Goldsmith, 15, died when the all-terrain type vehicle she was driving overturned near North Brewham, Somerset, in 2019.

Parents Kate Rothschild and Ben Goldsmith have since set up an environmental charity in her memory.

Mr Goldsmith said: "I feel everything that I do is infused in some way with her presence."

Financier Mr Goldsmith said they decided to set up the Iris Project, which provides grant funding and mentoring to young environmentalists worldwide, because his "mischief making" daughter Iris had a "profound love of nature".

Mr Goldsmith said she was always outdoors, immersing herself in nature by swimming in the pond, climbing up trees and building dens with her siblings.

He said he had "no doubt" that Iris, who dreamed of becoming a barrister, "would have gone on to do good things in the world about matters that she cared about", including nature and animals.

He said while Iris "didn't get that chance", they wanted to find and help other young nature lovers "who have a dream and who are fulfilling that dream in a way that Iris didn't get a chance to".

Mr Goldsmith, who describes himself as an environmentalist, said he also found being in nature "profoundly healing" when coming to terms with his daughter's death.

"Anyone who's lost someone close, especially a child, will know the darkness that engulfs you is like nothing you have ever imagined. You wonder if it's something you can ever survive," he said.

"I found that the first rays of light were always in connection with nature. In those very dark days after Iris died, I found glimmers of hope being outside."

"I think anyone who has lost someone very close, will admit to feeling a sense that they're aren't necessarily gone in a way we think they are," he added.

The Iris Project also includes the Iris Awards, an international award spotlighting young environmental leaders who are dedicated to safeguarding and rejuvenating the environment in their communities.

Mr Goldsmith said he hopes the awards will help other teenagers like his daughter achieve their dream.

Nominated for the 2023 STEM award, Dipisha Bhujel, who creates sustainable Sparsa period pads out of banana plants in Nepal, said the prize will help them to adopt more energy saving technologies and minimise their carbon emissions.

Set up to help women and girls who are lacking access to health and hygienic menstruating products, Ms Bhujel said they also aim to highlight the practices and "discrimination imposed on women" in her community.

"When we are on our period we are not allowed to stay in the same house, or the same room, and touch the food, water resources, plants or animals," she said.

Also nominated for an award, 17-year-old I Ketut Darma Dipta, from Bali, Indonesia, who set up Liquify in 2016 after struggling to find a viable water source in his hometown, said he hopes to continue Iris' legacy by "creating the biggest impact" he can.

Installing water filters around Bali, he said he'd use the prize money to continue to educate people on the global water problem.

The winners of the Iris Awards will be announced on 7 September.


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