“Pushing the Boundaries”….Liverpool meets Sir Ranulph Fiennes at the Town Hall.
Today, Tuesday 7th October, Liverpool met Sir Ranulph Fiennes at the Town Hall as part of a LCVS ‘Leadership’ seminar.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the English adventurer, explorer, fundraiser, author, public speaker and holder of several records retold an epic story of survival and heroism, true grit, that has shaped his life.
Sir Ranulph certainly knows what it takes to survive, and he made no qualms about telling a full audience at the Town Hall’s main meeting room, stories of adventures in extreme situations.
These were stories that inspired us; some making us uncomfortable, but then survival is rarely pretty.
He told of eye-watering bravery, death-defying resilience and extraordinary mental toughness, all sprinkled with a dash of light-hearted humour, but you had to be quick!. For Sir Ranulph the intrepid explorer moves on ever quickly with his stories.
From one story to the next, talking at length about extreme cold, frost bite, loosing fingers, blooded skin, all with the added bonus of a power-point presentation showing graphically just how bad the situation was.
Getting to the top of Everest at the age of 65 was no easy task, his was a story of pain and hardship.
Described in the Guinness Book of Records as “the worlds greatest living explorer”, he stresses in his talk that he wouldn’t have done any of this if he’d passed his A-levels.
His record-breaking expeditions include travel by riverboat, hovercraft, man-haul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski…..the list goes on and he doesn’t appear to be calling it a day!
He reminisced of his late wife Ginny. An expedition can take years to organise. She was totally and utterly the boss. “We went around the earth’s surface vertically. We did it based on Ginny’s 6in school globe upon which she drew a thin red line through the poles” he quips.
‘Leadership’ Well, He recalls “the people we recruit are ‘tolerant, patient, unexcitable, loyal, kindly and hardworking”.
The stories moved me, and the audience was gripped as he waltzed through his well prepared dialogue. But what drives men and women to plumb such depths and to risk it all?
Where do those wells of resilience, grit and determination come from? Are we born with them, or are they something we learn?
There are no simple answers, and if I have learned anything it is that there is no mould for a hero- they come in all sorts of unlikely guises. And people often surprise themselves when tested.