LODSWORTH welcomed back internationally-renowned former villager, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
The event, organised by the Lodsworth Heritage Society, was a sell-out six weeks in advance with 100 villagers and guests attending a lunch in the village hall before the talk by the explorer and adventurer.
‘Sir Ran’ grew up in the village, still has many friends there and last Wednesday he took the opportunity to catch up with them. They included 97-year-old Betty Simmonds and Bunny Storrar who lives in his former family home, one of the oldest houses in Lodsworth, St Peter’s Well.
During his talk he recounted many of his exploits, including his time in Lodsworth.
“While at Eton I practised ‘stegophily’ – which I had learnt in Lodsworth – the art of climbing buildings by night,” he told his audience.
“I don’t want to upset anyone here, but Peter Tooth and I managed to climb every single roof by night apart from one which was in such a bad state of repair it was dangerous.”
After service with the Army, SAS and the Omani forces, Ran’s first ‘professional’ expedition was to Norway. This started with a parachute jump on to the Fabergstolsbre glacier, landing in a tiny drop zone between the crevasse fields and cliffs, and ended with a descent by the Briksdalsbre glacier and river.
His expedition team included Bob Powell who has family connections with Lodsworth and was present at the talk.
Ran recounted a river expedition from the north to south of British Columbia to celebrate its centenary, the first-ever circumnavigation of the world along a line of latitude through both poles, the longest unsupported polar journey in history, and other exploits.
Through these expeditions he has raised more than £16.3m for charity.
The lunch was organised by Penny Tree, Sue Buckingham and their team.
Later Ran autographed copies of two of his books, ‘Beyond the Limits’ and ‘Cold – Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth’.