Leader of the Year Award

Our annual Leader Awards recognise and celebrate inspiring Leaders from across the spectrum – from stand-out beginners to the highly experienced. Recipients are nominated and shortlisted by fellow Leaders and members of the British Exploring Society team with the final Awards being made by a judging panel, who look to honour spirit and well as skills.

We will be presenting two awards at the end of this season. The nominees for the 2018 Awards will be announced on this webpage one by one in the lead up to our Celebration Evening in 2019, where the overall winner of the Awards will be announced.

The Les Morgan Leader of the Year Award 2018 shortlist

The Les Morgan Award is to identify and celebrate consistent excellence in any area of Leadership, or to recognise an individual who has supported and helped develop their fellow Leaders, providing guidance and direction for them as well as for Explorers in preparation for and throughout their expedition experiences. 

‘...Dependable, hugely capable, and physically unstoppable, but caring for the explorers and their goals and abilities. Ever ready to” just do” his energy and love for us all is infectious across the whole expedition, mention his name and a smile spreads like wild fire.’

Formerly a member of the British Military, Geraint (Taff) took a turn into the area of remote expeditions across the world. He also has been a Personal Trainer, designing performance enhancing routines for individual people and sports. Geraint currently teaches climbing and mountaineering to people, trying to push their adventurous spirit. He also plans, prepares and executes short UK-based trips for underprivileged youth and helps people achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh qualifications. Taff is now in Antarctica supporting scientists at the research station for 18 months.

‘Taff is an outstanding Leader and has demonstrated as such over a number of years with British Exploring Society. His technical skill and comfort in harsh mountain environments is unquestionable, his infectious cheer and enthusiasm is notorious, and his commitment to supporting his team – explorers and fellow Leaders alike is irrefutable.

‘Taff is simply a great guy. Under normal circumstances you don't realise that you're being led by him, he just feels like a good friend who happens to know the way forward. He keeps his calm even in the most difficult situations and is absolutely reliable, fair, and positive. Also, he does not take himself too seriously.’

‘Andy is an inspiring educator and expedition professional. Unphased by the challenges the expedition environment can throw at you, he is supportive towards colleagues and young people alike and can make the most thorny of training topics accessible.’

Whilst studying Earth Science at university, Andy spend a year poking volcanoes in Mexico and the Caribbean, which sparked what was to become a fascination with the lesser visited corners of our planet. Since then Andy has dedicated himself to off-the-beaten-track exploration, and has ventured into deserts in search of more volcanoes, led expeditions in East Africa, and spent a year living on one of the world's most remote islands. Andy is a Geography Teacher, Overseas Branches Commissioner for the Scout Association, and Ordnance Survey #GetOutside champion, who believes in the value of the outdoors as an educational environment. He has seen first-hand how young people are able to stretch themselves and develop when taken outside of the classroom and wants to ensure that as many young people as possible have the opportunity to do so.

‘Andy is one of those incredible people who can turn his hand to anything - translating for a meeting with community elders, digging latrines in wet clay soil amidst a fog of mosquitoes, managing casualties in a tropical storm, sharing his passion for mapping wild spaces and inspiring young people to greater heights. Without a doubt, he’s the person you want on your team in every expedition situation.’

‘Andy is a natural Leader & educator – equally comfortable and skilful working with a diverse range of young people as he is in the remote expedition environment. Andy’s ability to build rapport with his Explorers, and deliver engaging, informative and accessible sessions is outstanding. His commitment to youth development shines through and is consistently highlighted by his colleagues as a pleasure to work with.’

Watson Emerging Leader of the Year Award in memory of Jean Sinclair 2018 shortlist 

The Watson Award is designed to recognise and reward emerging talent, or to identify new, additional or more senior leadership actions on the part of a Leader who may have worked with us for some time.

‘With every year that passes Cameron has grown in experience and his development as a leader is an inspiration to all.’

Since travelling to Ladakh as a young explorer with British Exploring Society in 2013, Cameron has developed a strong interest in expedition organising and has since led expeditions to Greenland, Tanzania and the Himalaya, alongside which he has produced several short documentary films and established environmental education projects.

He gained a BSc (hons) degree in Geography from the University of Glasgow and is currently studying an MPhil Polar Studies course at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Cameron is keen to bring experience of expedition personal development and environmental change fieldwork to his fire and the expedition as a whole in the Amazon.

‘Cameron was absolutely dedicated to the wellbeing of his fire despite extremely difficult circumstances within the fire. He was conscientious, kind, inspiring and fun. As the medic I was involved in lots of his group's problems and saw what an incredible leader he was throughout. He totally went above and beyond the call of duty and has literally changed many YEs lives for the better.’

‘Cameron was absolutely dedicated to the wellbeing of his fire despite extremely difficult circumstances within the fire. He was conscientious, kind, inspiring and fun. As the medic I was involved in lots of his group's problems and saw what an incredible leader he was throughout.’

‘I can't think of many people who care about the people they are working with as much as Hannah.’

This was be Hannah’s third year with British Exploring Society, after joining the Trainee Leader programme in 2016. Whilst completing her BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science, she took part in an expedition to the Alps and this fuelled her drive to continue scientific exploration around the world. Whilst not in the office working on Parkinson’s Disease research, she thoroughly enjoys getting out on the hill, climbing a wall or planning her next adventure. She is particularly interested in looking at the physiological impact the immersive, tough and rather warm jungle environment has on the Young Explorers (and Leaders!) and how our bodies compensate for this.

‘Hannah has worked incredibly hard to improve her leadership abilities over the years. This summer she was faced with her toughest challenge to date and demonstrated an impressive commitment to the wellbeing of the young people in her care and determination to do her very best no matter what was thrown at her.’

‘Hannah was a huge part of the expedition for me. We faced a large amount of challenges...many of which I had never dealt with before. Out of everyone I have ever met doing expeditions I can't think of anybody I would have rather faced these challenges with than Hannah. Her constant support and patience allowed me and the whole Fire (group) to have such a positive experience of our time in the jungle. I can't think of many people who care about the people they are working with as much as Hannah. Even after four intense and exhausting weeks, Hannah remained so in tune with the diverse needs of our group and would not let herself go to sleep each night until she was sure each one of our young people was safe and healthy. Even though there were times at which the Young Explorers were not offering much positive feedback, she never gave up and I don't think there would have been as positive a vibe around our camp had she not acted in the way she did.’

Les Morgan Leader of the Year Award 2017 winner - James Dyer 

"Receiving the Les Morgan Leader of the Year Award means that I can stand up and champion these amazing colleagues, that return year on year to volunteer their time to make British Exploring Society’s expeditions happen, as a Chief Leader this helps make your job much easier." Read more.

The Watson New Leader of the Year Award 2017 winner - Sue Brown

"As a leader you get the opportunity to push boundaries you didn’t realise existed, be part of an amazing team, learn so much about who you are as a leader, make friends who will light up your life and lastly but by far most importantly play a part in shaping our future generations. Life doesn't get much better than that." Read more.