We feel privileged to have some eminent explorers and artists as patrons.
Colonel John Blashford-Snell CBE
Colonel John Blashford-Snell is one of the world’s most renowned and highly respected explorers. He has mounted over 100 expeditions in the past 50 years all over the world, concentrating on scientific research and community aid. These expeditions have included the first descent of the Blue Nile, the first crossing of the Darien Gap by vehicle and navigating the course of the Congo River.
He was a founder of the Scientific Exploration Society whose aim is to foster and encourage scientific exploration worldwide. Through this body he launched the Operation Drake and Operation Raleigh programmes, allowing thousands of young people to experience adventure and scientific research.
In the 2019 New Year Honours list JBS was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to scientific research abroad and to young people in the UK. We are delighted that Col. John has become a Patron of our Young Explorer Programme.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, is described by the Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer”. He has led 22 major expeditions to remote parts of the world, including both Poles. He is the only man alive to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface (more people have been on the Moon). He journeyed around the world on its polar axis, using surface transport only.
His record-breaking expeditions include travel by riverboat, hovercraft, manhaul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski. He has discovered a lost city in Oman, climbed Mt. Everest and in 2015 became the oldest Briton to complete the Marathon des Sables, the toughest footrace on Earth. The Daily Telegraph listed Ranulph Fiennes as “one of the world’s top ten speakers” and he was the guest speaker at our 2017 Explorers evening at the RGS.
Sir Ranulph is a Patron of our Young Explorer programme. “I’m pleased to support the Explorers Against Extinction campaign. Species extinction is such an important issue.”
Image: Liz Scarff, Fieldcraft Studios
Benedict Allen is established as one of the world’s leading modern-day explorers through expeditions famously achieved not with a phone, GPS or “backup,” but by preparation alone with remote indigenous communities.
The only person known to have crossed the Amazon Basin at its widest, arguably no one alive has lived so long isolated and alone in so many potentially hostile remote environments. His ventures include the first documented journey of the length of the Namib Desert, and likewise he is the only person known to have crossed the full width of the Gobi with camels alone.
Famous for his technique of immersing himself among indigenous peoples, today Benedict is also widely known for establishing the adventure genre in television. By using a handheld video camera rather than a film-crew he re-defined the landscape of TV, allowing millions of people around the world to witness for the first time adventures unfolding genuinely in inhospitable conditions.
Levison Wood is a professional explorer, writer and photographer who has published six best selling books and produced a number of critically acclaimed documentaries which have been aired around the world. He has travelled and worked in over one hundred countries worldwide overcoming challenges that would stop most people in their tracks. Last year he returned from his most ambitious expedition to date; a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon.
His passion for adventure and discovering more about indigenous ways of life has led him to walk the length of the River Nile, traverse the Himalayas and conduct scientific research in Central Africa for the Natural History Museum.
Levison spent a number of years as an Officer in the British Parachute Regiment, where he served in Afghanistan fighting against Taliban insurgents in Helmand and Kandahar. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, and visiting Fellow at CASS business school.
Pip is an adventurer and film-maker. She worked in Asia for five years as an anchor and reporter in Hong Kong and travelled extensively in Malaysia on stories for The Telegraph, BBC and CNN, amongst others. Pip’s journey back to Britain in 2013 was an epic year-long 10,000 mile biking trek starting in Kuala Lumpur taking in 26 countries.
Her travels have taken her on a 3000 mile cycle, boat and terrifyingly small plane journey exploring Brazil to Peru, raising awareness of the environmental issues in the region. She worked on a six-part TV series, ‘Transamazonica’.
In February 2018 she teamed up with fellow adventurers Laura Bingham and Ness Knight to take on a world first – paddling the entire length of The Essequibo, South America’s third largest river, from source to sea. A highly under-explored part of the world, the journey included remote jungle, untouched virgin rainforest, unknown rapids and contentious gold mining camps.
Gary is the UK’s best selling and most collectable pencil artist. He has sold over 110,000 personally signed and numbered wildlife art prints from 135 different editions. 125 of these limited editions have sold out – very few artists could make this claim.
Over the years the huge demand for Gary’s prints has led to a lucrative secondary market, rewarding collectors with more than just the sheer beauty of his drawings. The first limited edition print “Green Turtle” was published in 1987 by Greenpeace and sold for £8.50. In recent years copies have changed hands for up to an incredible £3,500.00. Recently introduced embellished prints have smashed this record a number of times reaching as high as £6,700 for his 1993 Snow Leopard.
Gary has always insisted he could not draw wildlife without giving something back to wildlife and other charities. Over the years he has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to numerous conservation projects and has been a supporter of Explorers against Extinction since we started in 2016. In 2019 we were delighted when he agreed to become a Patron of our Sketch for Survival initiative. Gary also leads the selection panel for our SFS Introducing competition.