Skip to content

“I have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of kindness by the public”

By Ben Fogle - TV presenter, adventurer and British Red Cross ambassador


Last updated 28 March 2023

So far today I have walked my dogs, Storm and Nero, and helped my children tackle some home schooling. Like most people over the last few weeks, my world has shrunk to the walls of our home and my social life is now limited to my wife, Marina, and my kids.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to go on incredible expeditions. Many of these adventures involve serious periods of lock down or confinement in small spaces. So, I find myself now falling back on survival techniques that I’ve used on trips to get through what we are all experiencing now.

If a storm hits halfway up Everest, you could be forced to hunker down in your tiny tent for days. And just like with the looming threat of this dreadful virus, it is essential not to panic. Imagination is a powerful emotion and once you lose control of your mind, you are in danger of giving into the chaos and panic rising inside you.

Similarly, rowing across the Atlantic, it was just myself and James Cracknell for 49 days. Not long into our Atlantic journey, we discovered the massive gap between our goals. James wanted to break a rowing record and I just wanted to survive and finish.

I hope, in a similar way, the coronavirus outbreak - despite the awful health threat - will bring out the best in all of us.

The British Red Cross relies on it’s amazing volunteers

I have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of kindness by the public.

Over 28,000 people have signed up to volunteer for the British Red Cross (for whom I am an ambassador) since the outbreak hit. 

It is an organisation powered by the kindness of volunteers, and it is many of these volunteers who are now phoning neighbours, delivering groceries to those isolated and helping to ease pressure on the NHS.

Coronavirus might push people apart, but kindness will keep us together.

Ben’s Top Tips

    • Break up your day into manageable chunks. Give yourself goals.
    • Don't fixate on the enormity of the journey ahead, take one hour at a time.
    • Make a note of the things that give you enjoyment. Treat them like treats so you don’t dilute the pleasure.
    • We all have down days and it’s important to lift the spirits of those around you when they are feeling low.
    • Try to think rationally and don’t concede to the loud inner voice of doubt and doom.
    • If you are well and willing, you can volunteer too. Sign up to be one of our Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteers.

This article was first published in The Mirror.

UK Coronavirus Response Appeal

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest health emergency of our time. With your help, we’ll continue to provide vital support to those worst affected by the outbreak, wherever the need is greatest.