June Haimoff

One woman has told of how she was given a new lease on life despite losing everything, after becoming a leading conservationist in her country.

June Haimoff, 90, once had it all. She lived a luxurious and privileged “jet-set lifestyle” complete with a great house, loving partner and an expensive boat to top it all off.

However, it was not to be. For in the mid 1980s, at the age of 60,  she lost everything and had to start all over again. But rather than doing what many would understandably do and give up, she decided to travel the world, which she admits was partly to rediscover all that she’d lost.

In an interview with Positive News, she explained: “I lost my boat, house and partner in 1981 and I needed to find a new place. After I had to sell my boat I was at a huge loss. Losing it meant I lost my summers of freedom and adventure. I’d also lost my home in Switzerland and my 13-year relationship had broken up.”

She ended up living in a simple beach hut. It was there that she discovered her love for turtles – of which there were many in the part of Turkey which she resided in.

She continued: “It was perfect. I didn’t have an engagement book and I had no transport so I couldn’t go anywhere. I just wore my bikini. I was 60 then, but I could still wear a bikini.

“I’d maybe wander down to the ramshackle cafes and say hello and watch the sea. It was a time of feeling a bit lonely and lost, but also a time of healing.”

From then on, she spent much of her time rescuing the turtles, that had got stranded on the beach and quickly coined a reputation as a leading environmentalist.

Her beach hut is also home to the area’s turtle museum, near the local turtle hospital, which is managed by Pamukkale University and relies upon help from volunteers.

It is estimated that she has saved the lives of thousands of turtles.

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