Our Fellows

Meet our Fellows

Meet our other teams

Fellowship at British Exploring Society is awarded by our Council. Fellowship is attainable by any individual involved in our work: staff, volunteers, partners, donors, patrons and explorers and is granted in relation to exceptional contribution.

The contribution that is recognised by Fellowship is in a field that aligns with British Exploring Society's vision and mission. This may include education, youth development, social work, fund-raising, training, leadership, expedition design, science, geology, medicine, or enterprise.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes - Explorer

Considered by many to be one of the greatest living explores, Ranulph has broken countless world records and led numerous expeditions across the globe from his Transglobe expedition during 1979 – 1982 to completing the Marathon des Sables in 2015. Ranulph has kindly stated, “I wish British Exploring well. You have my continued support with your incredibly worthwhile expeditions showing our youth what successful and rewarding experiences they can have through outdoor activities.” Ran was a critical champion of the society during a tough period in 2011 and continues to support us whenever asked. He makes donations to us (in kind) applies his name to what we do, is happy for us to ask for his support in fundraising, and his reputation significantly enhances our work with specific audiences. His reputation as an adventurer is exceptional.

Dr Lucy Obolensky - Doctor & Associate Lecturer

Lucy is committed to youth development and adventure and has completed over 20 expeditions herself as well as supporting the likes of Sir David Attenborough on his adventures with the BBC. She is passionate about exploration, conservation and hospital partnerships in Kenya, worked with the Help for Heroes Kilimanjaro summit and teaches medical skills to explorers and leaders. She has previously acted as a medic for British Exploring Society, and is now our Technical advisor for all expeditions. She also stepped in at the very last minute to enable our Himalayas expedition to continue in 2017. She advocates across the sector, is helping us improve our work, and is a fabulous role model for British Exploring Society.

Chris Wright - Chief Executive of Catch22

Chris Wright is Chief Executive of Catch22. Chris is an advocate for the social enterprise sector playing a key role in the delivery of public services. Without Chris, a cornerstone of our programming would not exist. His imagination and enterprise in supporting the Next Generation programme was transformative for the Society. He continues to provide support and challenge (and reputational enhancement to the credibility of work with challenged young people) through his role as CEO at Catch 22 and always agrees to support us when we ask – in bids, as a signatory – whenever he can.

Guðrún Tryggvadóttir - Teacher & Farmer

For 16 years they have run a school camp for elementary-school children with a focus on learning by doing. Guðrún has also supported British Exploring Society since 2013, facilitating successive expeditions to experience the remote wilderness. She continues to donate a basecamp on her family farm from which successive young people have a rare chance to explore. Guðrún is also the Chairman of the Farmers Association of Þingeyjarsýsla County (BSSÞ) and Vice Chairman of the Farmers Association of Iceland.o the highest standard.

David Dangoor - Businessman and philanthropist

David Alan Ezra Dangoor is a British businessman and philanthropist. A son of Sir Naim Dangoor, he spent his early life in Baghdad as part of Iraq's Jewish community, leaving with his parents and his brothers in the 1960s for the United Kingdom, where he was educated at Carmel College and Imperial College London. David and the Exilarch Foundation have proved inspirational, loyal and sensitive funders to British Exploring Society. They have made possible one of the programmes we are most proud of – DNG. David is committed to providing young people of all backgrounds with similar opportunities to excel – and his understanding of the opportunities for youth development through adventure, and of the challenges any organisation trying to achieve this faces – mark him out as an exceptional partner.

Ben Saunders - Polar Explorer

Ben Saunders is one of the world’s leading polar explorers, and a record-breaking long-distance skier. When asked about the value of British Exploring, Ben said “I’m proud to support British Exploring, I think it offers unique opportunities for young people to get outside of their comfort zones, to learn about themselves, to learn about team work, communication and leadership in a way that you definitely don’t get to do in full time education.” Ben is a well-informed positive advocate for British exploring Society. He has made a positive contribution to our work and is a strong and serious advocate for us.

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His own exceptional professional achievements as an explorer and endurance athlete contribute positively to our reputation. He has regularly spoken at British Exploring Society events, and uses the opportunities he has to invite us to events where we can network and try and secure support for our work.

Dr Peter Allison - Associate Professor Penn State University

Peter is the best advocate of the effectiveness of our work in the academic community. He has amassed the largest body of evidence in support of our work, and continues to advocate positively for British Exploring Society globally. He has also led for BES in the past. He is currently championing a 3-year piece of work looking at the legacy of our work in the lives of our members over the last 60 years at Penn State University.

Tori James - Adventurer

Tori is a previous young explorer and British Exploring Society employee. She is a fantastic role model as a successful adventurer and mountaineer and was the first welsh woman to climb Everest. She is an ambassador for DofE in Wales. She actively helps us try and recruit, particularly in her homeland, Wales. She attends events, asks questions, tries to support us and interrogate our direction of travel.

Lieutenant General Peter Pearson CB CBE - Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor

Peter is a previous Director of British Exploring Society. He was a consummate fundraiser and champion, and saw the Society through one of its most difficult periods between 2010-2014 with fortitude and incredible professionalism. Peter took over from Sir Michael Hobbs as Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor and was also the Lieutenant of the Tower of London. His professional reputation is exceptional, and he continues to support and promote the Society through his networks.

Teddy Watson - Former Chairman of British Exploring Society

Teddy Watson retired as Chairman of British Exploring Society in March 2017. His current appointments include: Executive Director and Trustee of the Swire Chinese Language Foundation; Associate Fellow, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School; Member of Council (governor) Radley College; and Chairman of Sensonomic Ltd, the UK arm of a high-tech start-up. Prior to this he had spent over thirty years in the reinsurance industry, primarily in the City and New York, where he was a director and chairman of a number of international broking and underwriting businesses. He founded the prestigious Wallace Watson Award at St Catherine's College, Oxford and has an amateur’s love of opera and history, and dreams of the mountains.

Bruce Manning - British Exploring Society Chief Leader

Bruce has been a leader for British Exploring Society for well over a decade and has contributed to 8 expeditions so far. He has grown with the society, ridden significant challenges, and continues to be one of our most loyal and capable chief leaders. He brings new ideas, challenge and a level of professionalism to the society which we value hugely. He is an exceptional chief leader, and a great Champion of our work. “…As a charity we are able to provide something very special which has a profound long-term effect on our young people...20 or 30 years later Young Explorers will still talk about their experience as life changing…this is the reason I choose to lead for British Exploring Society.”

Alex Gregory MBE - Olympic Gold medallist

Speaking on his experience, Alex said "It is a huge honour to be named a patron of British Exploring Society, a role I take with enormous pride. The expedition I was lucky enough to be a part of gave me so much, then and now. I was given opportunities, experiences and skills that have helped me on my pathway in life. I whole heartedly support British Exploring and urge young people to step out of their norm and take up the opportunity that is right here before them. Thank you British Exploring for everything you gave me, I owe you!"

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Alex is a very positive advocate for us, and as a previous Young Explorer, a wonderful role model. Unprompted, he uses opportunities to promote and draw attention to our work in an incredibly helpful way. His achievements as an athlete contribute positively to our reputation. He has welcomed opportunities to support us, for example in helping us as a judge our inaugural leader of the Year awards.

Pen Hadow - Polar Explorer

Pen rose to global acclaim when he became the first person to trek solo to the Pole by the hardest route – a feat which has not been repeated. Speaking on British Exploring Pen has stated that, “British Exploring Society is a unique and precious national resource. In combining scientific research in extreme environments, through the vehicle of an expertly organised expedition, it offers unrivalled personal development opportunities for young people." Pen has supported us whenever he has time, including at a Royal round table last year. His professional reputation as a scientist and environmental campaigner align with the direction that British Exploring Society is taking as a charity, and he recommends potential leads for us whenever he has the chance.

Major General Sir Michael Hobbs KCVO CBE - Commander in the British Army & charity director

Sir Michael has had a remarkable career in the armed forces, spending time leading troops in Ireland during the ‘troubles’, then as Director of both DofE and Outward Bound. He was also director of the military Knights of Windsor. As Director of the London Law Trust he was instrumental in the funding and design of the Stellar Leadership programme at British Exploring Society – another formative programme for us - and became a friend of British Exploring Society in the process. He has been an invaluable contact, advocate, champion and critical friend ever since.

Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE (1931-2022)

British Exploring Society are honoured to have had the support of Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE FBES since the 1940s. A Young Explorer, Leader, Council Member and champion for the charity, Sir John remained actively engaged and was an unshakeable advocate for British Exploring Society for many decades. His support helped many young people experience the life-changing benefits of challenging learning and adventure in the wilderness. His own professional record was a huge adornment, and he was an excellent model of the good humour, modesty, and commitment to contribution which we would want every Young Explorer to emulate. We are incredibly grateful for the time and energy he dedicated to British Exploring Society.

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Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, GCB, CBE served as Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1988 to 1992. Other ranks included Governor of Gibraltar from 1993 to 1995, Commander, British Forces in Hong Kong 1980-1982 and Regimental Colonel of the 2nd Gurkha Rifles from 1986-1994. His involvement with British Exploring Society included two expeditions as a Young Explorer (Newfoundland 1947 & Northern Norway 1949) and two as an Assistant Leader (Central Iceland 1952 & British Columbia 1953).

Nigel Harling - Police Officer and Expedition Leader

Nigel Harling lives in the Lakes District on a small holding and breeds herdwick sheep He has been involved with British Exploring Society for the past 32 years and has been on expeditions to Svalbard 1987 (as a Young Explorer), Alaska 1989 over wintering (Young Explorer), Svalbard 1990 (Leader), Svalbard 1992 (Deputy Chief Leader) and Yukon in 2007 as the Chief Leader. Nigel was also the Chair of the Expeditions Committee and also a Member of Council for 10 years. Other expeditions Nigel has participated in and organised include: Haute Route 1990, Himalaya 1991, Kenya 1993, British Crossing of Greenland Expedition 1994, British Magnetic Pole Expedition 1997, Sea Kayaking around Svalbard (80◦NorthExpedition) 1999, Ski Mountaineering in Svalbard (Winter) 2002, Around Oman Sea Kayaking Expedition 2005.

Julian Penney - Managing Director, Pharos Response

Julian is passionate in his belief that young people should experience the benefits of challenge and adventure, especially when combined with elements of travel and the natural environment. For someone who is an expert in H&S and crisis management involving travel and young people, this may come as a surprise, but Julian believes the benefits of overseas trips outweigh the risks and aligns himself with the mission and methodologies adopted by British Exploring Society. He started out as a Commissioned Officer in the British Army and became Operations Director at the UK's largest expedition company for schools in the UK, Australia and USA, seeing it through to the successful acquisition by a travel-industry leading global PLC.

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Julian is a member of the Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel, a former trustee of the Institute for Outdoor Learning, was on the founding team that drafted British Standard 8848 and now provides input into the advisory group set-up by the HSE to propose a potential replacement to the UK's Adventurous Activities Licensing Regulations.

Colonel John Blashford Snell CBE - Explorer and Founder of Operation Raleigh

Colonel John Blashford-Snell CBE is one of the world's most renowned and highly respected explorers. JBS supports and works with numerous charities working with underprivileged youth in the UK, as well as undertaking countless community aid projects in remote parts of the world. John talks about British Exploring Society whenever he makes a speech to young people. His own career is an adornment to the whole sector. He founded the Scientific Exploration Society. He invented white water rafting ‘by accident’ and has been awarded numerous medals and trophies for his explorations and discoveries. He established Operation Drake, later to become Operation Raleigh, and even helped a hat maker Lock and Co, design their explorers hat. If anyone typifies a combination of youth development and adventure – it’s John.

Caroline Hodges - British Exploring Society Head of Expeditions and Strategic Operations

Caroline joined British Exploring in September 2010 as Manager of the British Exploring Outreach programme – The Dangoor Next Generation Programme – and is now Head of Expeditions and Strategic Operations.

James Dyer - British Exploring Society Expedition Training and Leadership Advisor

James joined British Exploring as Operations Manager in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Leading Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor Learning and has a long career in expedition leadership and management. James has since taken on the role of Expedition Training and leadership Advisor and is responsible for advising on appropriate leadership recruitment and skills for our trainee leaders and Leaders, as well as the development of leadership training resources.

Doug Oppenheim - Past Chairman of British Exploring Society

Doug was a member of the Society’s 1995 expedition to Alaska’s Wrangell St Elias National Park. Subsequent expeditions have taken him to Greenland, Svalbard, Baffin Island, the Sahara, Ethiopia and Antarctica, where he skied from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf to the South Pole to raise funds for research into Motor Neurone Disease. In 2018 Doug founded Palladian Investment Partners, an investment management business, where he serves as managing partner. Doug became a member of the Society’s Council and latterly served as its Chairman from 2017-2019. He is passionate about the Society’s work and using the wilderness to help young people unlock their full potential.

Daragh Horgan - Previous British Exploring Society Trustee

Daragh was a trustee of British Exploring Society for nearly seven years, during which time he worked closely with the operations team to oversee the safety of British Exploring Society's expeditions. He is passionate about the power of the outdoors and expeditions in wild environments to transform the lives of young people, and he is a strong advocate and supporter of British Exploring Society in making such opportunities available to all. He has worked in the investment industry for twenty five years and is a founding partner of investment firm, Hengistbury Investment Partners. Daragh enjoys skiing, tennis, martial arts, sailing and until recently amateur rugby. He is occasionally to be found wandering in both the Arctic and Antarctic, including skiing to the South Pole from the Ronne-Fichner ice shelf in 2008/9. Daragh is married to Anne, and they have two children.

Justin Warwick - British Exploring Society Archivist

Justin joined British Exploring Society's office team in 2003 and was Archivist from 2006 to 2020. Justin was also a Young Explorer on our Quebec 1954 Expedition. Justin studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, became a Chartered Engineer following Post Graduate Studies. Upon retirement in 2003 he studied a part-time MSc History of Science degree at Imperial College.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher MBE - British Exploring Society CEO

Honor joined British Exploring Society as CEO in February 2016. She was previously CEO for 6 years at the Aldridge Foundation where she helped establish 12 state schools in some of the most deprived parts of England. This is when she had her first opportunity to take part in, and see the positive impact of, challenging overseas adventures with young people.

Belinda Kirk - Explorer and Adventure Campaigner

Belinda Kirk is an explorer and the leading campaigner promoting the benefits of adventure on wellbeing. She started her British Exploring Society journey as a student at Oxford and became Assistant Leader in Sinai 1997, Fire Leader on several others in the middle, then Chief leader on Amazonas 2002. For the past twenty-five years, she has led dozens of international expeditions and remote filming trips. Belinda has walked through Nicaragua, sailed across the Atlantic, searched for camels in China’s Desert of Death, discovered ancient rock paintings in Lesotho and gained a Guinness World Record for rowing unsupported around Britain. She has led numerous youth development challenges, pioneered inclusive expeditions for people with disabilities and managed scientific research missions in the Amazon, Sinai and Alaska.

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In 2009, Belinda established Explorers Connect, a non-profit organisation connecting people to adventure and has encouraged 30,000 ordinary people to engage in outdoor challenges. In 2020 she launched the first conference to explore the positive impact that adventurous activity has on wellbeing. She has written Adventure Revolution: The life-changing power of choosing challenge. It’s the first book to explain why adventure is essential to wellbeing. Drawing on lessons learnt from leading groups into the wilderness and the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, Belinda shows how adventure has the power to transform the timid into the confident, the addicted into the recovering, and the lost into the intentionally wandering.

Meet members of our wider team

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