Ben Fogle: TV presenter, adventurer, and British Red Cross hero
From volunteering in a local Red Cross shop to conquering Mount Everest, this why we love Ben Fogle
You might know Ben Fogle as a globetrotting adventurer, an Atlantic-crossing rower, or an unflappable television presenter. But did you know about his work with the British Red Cross?
Ben has been a British Red Cross Ambassador since 2018, working with us to spread the word about our missions at home and abroad.
Donating time... and blood
In 2018, Ben gave blood for the very first time while visiting a Red Cross solar-powered blood bank in Nepal. The UK’s restrictions on blood donation for those that have spent recent time abroad meant he had never done it before, since he is always on the road. He was in the country with Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton ahead of their attempt to climb Mount Everest, and took the opportunity to see our work following the 2015 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and damaged or destroyed close to a million homes.
“I’ve been a supporter of the Red Cross ever since I was a little boy,” Ben said at the time. “But coming out here to Nepal has enlightened me, I suppose, as to the breadth of their work. It’s much more than just the relief effort.”
Reaching the summit
While in Nepal, Ben’s Mount Everest ascent was done in support of the British Red Cross, inspired by our work in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Living in the shadow of the tower, we watched helplessly as the heroic emergency services battled the inferno,” he said. “And suddenly those Red Cross vehicles were in my neighbourhood. I realised that in my worldwide focus I had completely overlooked the vital and life-changing work the Red Cross does here in my homeland.”
He and his frosty beard were joined by a Red Cross flag at the summit.
Cyclone relief in Mozambique
The following year, Ben travelled with us to Mozambique to help promote our relief effort in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone Idai. The cyclone left a trail of destruction in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe when it hit in March 2019. Hundreds were killed and an estimated three million people were affected.
THEIR RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF SUCH ADVERSITY IS ASTONISHING.- BEN FOGLE
While filming in the region, Ben joined an aid convoy to Njalane, a small fishing village that had been cut off by trees blocking the road. He helped local volunteers from the Mozambique Red Cross in distributing tool kits, tarpaulins, buckets, soap, towels and mosquito nets. He was there so soon after the cyclone that Ben ended up bedding down on the floor of a hotel conference room, along with other volunteers and staff from Red Cross societies throughout the world.
“The sheer scale of this crisis is simply extraordinary,” Ben said. “It’s clear from speaking with some of the survivors today that many are still coming to terms with what’s happened and the enormity of what lies ahead. Their resilience in the face of such adversity is astonishing.”
Helping at home
On the home front, Ben has proved his volunteering chops on numerous occasions.
Last year, he spent time in our Cheltenham shop, collecting donated clothes and serving customers during our annual Red Cross Week. Check out the video below to see how he got on.
At Christmas the same year, Ben and his daughter took part in a ‘bucket shake’ at Baker Street Tube Station in London, joined by a carol-singing choir who helped us to raise further money. Red Cross fundraisers and buckets can also be found in the theatres of his Tales of the Wilderness in-conversation tour of the UK.
When not summiting mountains and raising funds, Ben embodies one of our key values in one of his own missions. As purveyors of the power of kindness ourselves, the final mention must go to his weekly Instagram ‘Strike for Kindness’: his “gentle call for a kinder online world”.
Disasters around the world
Our Stories platform aims to bring our work across the globe to life. Whether it’s an earthquake in Nepal or a cyclone in Mozambique, your donation means the Red Cross can be there whenever disaster strikes.Donate