We were very fortunate to host a fundraiser with the Port Elizabeth Animal Welfare Society and we had Lewis Pugh, the famous Human Polar Bear, as our guest speaker. For those of you who don’t know who he is here is some information on his background:
Background information on Lewis Pugh
In 2007, Lewis stood on the edge of sea ice at the North Pole, wearing just his goggles and a Speedo. The water into which he was about to plunge was minus 1.7 Centigrade.
This was no in-and-out dip into the world’s coldest water. Lewis was about to undertake the first long-distance swim across the North Pole. There was a very good chance he might die. Lewis became the first person to swim at the North Pole, in temperatures that would kill a normal person, to raise awareness of climate change. Nicknamed ‘the human polar bear’ for his ability to raise his body’s core temperature at will, he has pioneered swims in the world’s most hostile waters, redefining what is possible to achieve. A former solder in the British SAS, Lewis will tell his fantastic story in Port Elizabeth, from his childhood in England until the age of ten, growing up with his ‘hero’ and father, a Surgeon Rear Admiral, to his family’s relocation to Grahamstown, through his training in the world’s most elite special forces unit, to his recent swim under the summit of Mt Everest, to where he is today – an ambassador for environmental protection.
Driven by nothing more than deep belief, he has achieved things most would regard as impossible. Polar protector, international speaker, athlete and world-class explorer, Lewis is the much needed role model for our times.
Lewis spoke about what it takes to “Achieve the Impossible” from having a clear vision to planning and preparation, leadership, teamwork, courage and vasbyt (which is Afrikaans for determination and not giving up).
Our centre manager Abagail McNicol (now Gardiner) was away on honeymoon so I had to do a presentation on Born Free on her behalf. I have done quite a lot of presentations already but I must say that I was most nervous about this one, speaking in front of 470 people and one of the best international motivational speakers in the world is not for the faint hearted I’ll say. But by God’s grace all went well (I didn’t trip going up the stairs or stumble on my words)! It was a great experience that I will always remember.