A 78-year-old man has been named as a finalist in PETA’s ‘Most Beautiful Vegan over 50’ competition.
Vance Harvey, from Oadby, is up against seven other finalists in a bid to be crowned champion – with a chance to win a decadent vegan hamper from Fortnum and Mason, along with a bottle of vegan prosecco.
Vance, who has been vegan for eight years, originally applied for the competition after speaking with his local PETA representative – who suggested he should give it a go.
The animal rights charity are running the ‘Most Beautiful Vegan over 50’ competition as a twist on their ‘Sexiest Vegan’ competition they normally run – with the aim to tell the inspiring stories of PETA members and their efforts to save animals.
Speaking of his finalist status, Vance said: “It’s really an honour, it’s a huge organisation and they will have had a lot of applicants for this competition.
“I’ve been a member of PETA for years and I have been vegan for eight years.
“I spoke with my local PETA rep and she mentioned it, so I brought it up with my wife and she told me to go for it, not expecting that I would get anywhere!
“The people in my local vegetarian and vegan community group are being very supportive, and my wife is looking forward to the vegan hamper if I win, too!”
A purveyor of rare, antiquarian books, Vance made the switch to veganism after speaking with the author of a healthy living book, who suggested the change would positively impact his health.
Vance had previously been pescatarian since the 1980s, and decided to take the plunge and go vegan.
He said: “My business is in books and has been for 50 years. I was at a book fair in New York and got speaking to a man who was selling his health book.
“I spoke about having angina and he told me to go vegan, and that I wouldn’t need medication within a few years of the change, so I decided to give it a go.
“My doctor has now stopped my medications because he believes I don’t need them anymore.
“I was pescatarian for over 30 year, since the 1980s, and decided to take the plunge. I lost about a stone in weight and feel very healthy and lighter with the diet.”
He also praised Leicester for being a good city to live in if you are vegan.
Vance said: “Leicester is a great place to live if you are vegan. There’s a lot of options there for you. There’s a lot of good restaurants, cafes, and food shops providing a wide range of delicious vegan food, such as Prana’s.
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“The competition is just a bit of fun and raises a lot of good attention for PETA and their cause, and I’m happy to get involved and hopefully get the win!”
PETA Director, Elisa Allen, said: “We were looking for special people who were willing to share their stories and inspire others to do what they can to save animals – and Vance Harvey fits the bill.
“Each finalist in PETA’s competition is an inspiration to anyone who wants to explore healthy, humane vegan living.”
Vance will find out whether he is voted the most beautiful vegan over 50 in the UK and Ireland on August 27.