As Joint Presidents of this marvellous charity Elephant Family my wife and I, could not be more proud to support their vital work. After all, we are all here to ensure that dear Mark's hard-won legacy is maintained and enhanced.

I can't help thinking he would have been so pleased to know if he had been with us  that we have just met the representatives of four conservation charities who are partnering with Elephant Family with the aim of unlocking £20 million pounds to secure one hundred elephant corridors across India by 2025. 

I am very glad to say that my British Asian Trust is also committed to assisting this work; they have offered Elephant Family the dedicated endeavours of one of their staff in-country in order to leverage the contacts the British Asian Trust have built up for almost a decade, including corporates, trusts, foundations and individuals in both the public and private spheres.

This evening's events are designed to highlight the quest to save Asia's endangered elephants from a frighteningly precipitous decline.  There may be no more than fifty thousand left in total in the wild across the thirteen countries where they are literally clinging to survival. 

Sadly, it is the case that the pressures of finite space and the needs of an unsustainably growing human population have brought us into conflict with these remarkable creatures.  Assam, in Northeast India, is home to one of the largest remaining populations of the Asian elephant, but its forest habitat is disappearing at an increasingly alarming rate. 

Witnessing this conundrum, Mark's vision was simple but profound; the elephants can survive only if forests survive. 

As the inheritors of this vision, Elephant Family and the Quintessentially Foundation are working alongside key partners in-country to weave together an increasingly fragmented patchwork of forest remnants and preserve the elephants' migratory pathways.  This method has been tried and proved elsewhere, but the project in Assam is the biggest and boldest of its kind.  

This is why, ladies and gentleman, Elephant Family and the Quintessentially Foundation, and indeed Asia's elephants, so sorely need your help. 

Other great challenges of the ages have unleashed a fleet of ships.  This challenge has unleashed a fleet of incredibly artistic tuk tuks! 

I hope you will agree that in such a guise they are a worthy tribute to the magnificent animal that Aristotle once described as the beast that passeth all others in the wit and mind and which they seek to save.