A campaigning friend of Heather Mills McCartney today defended her against accusations that she was a “self publicist”.
Juliet Gellatley said the ex-model had been subjected to “outpourings of spite” since the announcement of her split from husband Paul McCartney.
Mrs Gellatley, director of Vegetarian International Voice For Animals (Viva) and the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF), paid tribute to her campaigning work.
Such was Heather Mills McCartney’s “professionalism and dedication” that she is to attend a VVF campaign press launch on Wednesday despite the “media feeding frenzy”.
“One of the most laughable accusations made against Heather is that she is a self publicist,” Mrs Gellatley said.
“As far as I can see, she has no time for self publicity as her days are almost fully occupied with championing the causes of others – both human and non-human.”
In the last few weeks she had focused attention on the slaughter of seals in Canada and the “barbarically cruel” fur trade while she has also campaigned for the disabled and victims of land mines.
She is to attend the launch of the VVF’s anti-dairy product campaign because she felt the message that “dairy is damaging the nation’s health might not be given the prominence it deserved if she failed to attend”.
Both Heather Mills McCartney, a patron of Viva and the VVF, and Paul McCartney were “loyal friends” of both organisations.
Mrs Gellatley, who has known her for several years, said she read with “anger and disbelief” the “outpourings of spite” against her in newspapers.
“I have known Heather for some time and instinctively liked her on first meeting,” she said.
“I immediately recognised in her the unmistakable attributes of an experienced campaigner – passionate, dedicated, unbelievably energetic and caring – endlessly caring.”
She added: “It seems that if you use your celebrity to posture and pout in front of the cameras, to fill your life with trivia and ephemera and flaunt your wealth to obscure your lack of talent, that is fine as far as some of the media is concerned.
“If, on the other hand, you use your position to try and eradicate disadvantage and focus attention on the appalling cruelty handed out to animals - cruelty that most people like to pretend doesn’t exist – then that is suspect and makes you fair game for attempted character assassination.”
Heather Mills McCartney had “never missed an opportunity” to gain publicity for the VVF and Viva and to “give her time generously”.
Mrs Gellatley added: “Heather Mills McCartney cares and I wish to God there were more like her.”
She also paid tribute to McCartney for his “warmth, friendship and encouragement” for Viva over 12 years but said she wanted to “set the record straight” about Heather who had been “cast as the villain”.