“ANYONE can make a difference to the world from their armchair.”

That is the call from 84-year-old adventurer Shirley Critchley who is urging people to help Dorset explorers on their next expedition to Colombia in May.

Led by renowned explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, the Scientific Exploration Society based in Shaftesbury, will be joined by zoologists, a doctor and a dentist to catalogue wildlife and give aid to the local community – and member Shirley says Dorset residents can lend a hand from home.

The intrepid adventurers desperately need binoculars for the wardens as well as glasses and knitted puppets for the local community which Shirley’s local Knit and Natter group in Canford Heath have already began creating.

Shirley, said: “These items will be so appreciated by the wardens and the local community.

“We really need as much help as possible.”

Shirley is no stranger to exploring herself – even at the age of 84.

Until she retired, Shirley had never even slept under canvas.

However now she has eight overseas missions under her travel belt including trekking through the rainforests of South America, encountering wild elephants in remote areas of Nepal, ridden the rapids in the Amazon Basin and her latest expedition to Costa Rica.

The grandma-of-seven, who is a national tennis champion and plays four times a week, said: “Being part of an expedition is much better than sitting on a beach somewhere. It does bring its own excitement every day. I never thought I’d be trekking through the jungle in a tropical storm at 82 but if you come out with a smile on your face, you know you are happy.”

Shirley, who has established herself as an international public speaker, added: “I do feel incredibly lucky and that is what it comes down to. I do feel there are still so many ways we can help with these expeditions whilst sitting in an armchair. But my goodness I still have the urge to get out there myself.”

For more information or to donate items by the end of March, call Shirley on 01202 741320 or email shirley.critchley1@btinternet.com