Meet the team…
Bear Grylls has become known around the world as one of the most recognized faces of survival and outdoor adventure. His journey to this acclaim started in the UK on the Isle of Wight, where his late father taught him to climb and sail. Trained from a young age in martial arts, Bear went on to spend three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, serving with 21 SAS. It was here that he perfected many of the skills that his fans all over the world enjoy watching him pit against mother-nature.
Despite a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, where he broke his back in three places, and after enduring months in military rehabilitation, Bear went on to become one of the youngest ever climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Bear went on to star in the Channel 4 series: Escape to the Legion and seven series of the Discovery Channel’s Emmy nominated TV show Man Vs Wild and Born Survivor, which has become one of the most watched shows on the planet, reaching an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.
Off screen, Bear has lead record-breaking expeditions, from Antarctica to the Arctic, which in turn have raised over $2.5million for children around the world. In recognition for his expertise and service, Bear was appointed as the youngest ever Chief Scout to over half a million scouts in the UK, was awarded an honorary commission as a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy and as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the notoriously tough Royal Marines Commandos.
He has authored 15 books, including the No 1 Bestseller: Mud Sweat & Tears which was voted the most influential book in China for 2012. Other titles include: A Survival Guide For Life, Born Survivor, Living Wild, Great Outdoor Adventures, Facing Up, Facing the Frozen Ocean, To My Sons and seven children’s fiction novels titled Mission: Survival.
Summer 2013 saw Bear’s new US TV series: Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls running on NBC and voted the No 1 new network reality show in the 18-49 age category. The show is currently running worldwide on Discovery Channel alongside a further series: Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell and Bear Grylls: Extreme Survival Caught on Camera.
Stay tuned for more Wild Weekends and “the ultimate survival experiment”, Island of Lost Blokes all coming soon to UK’s Channel 4 TV.
Find out more about Bear Grylls
Dave Pearce says, “I served 24 years in the British Commandos. I served globally, with many elite forces and in many theaters of Ops. I left about 7/8 years ago. In the last seven years I have worked as a consultant to business developing team and leadership, worked as an International mountain guide (including guiding on Everest,) carried out close protection for ‘A’ list celebs and CEO’s, and have attended expeditions globally, some with Bear Grylls.
I have summited Everest and returned to the mountain a few years later. I was part of an ascent of Kangchenjunga (third highest mountain) with no supplementary oxygen. I have mountaineered extensively in the Alps. I have a background in survival in all environments and especially mountains and cold climates. I am a wild water paddler, sea paddler and ski mountaineer, too.
I continue to work with Bear Grylls and supported him on just about all the Man v Wild shows over the past 7 years. I have delivered all the safety and stunt coordination for all Bear does. I have always worked closely with Bear, the director and film crew to develop unique and interesting survival and stunt challenges along with other show content. I also coordinate his security and act as close protection where appropriate. I also work very closely with Bear on many other projects outside of TV. I continue to mountaineer, paddle, ski and challenge myself in all manner of activities.
I have a mantra…come back alive, come back friends and come back successful….in that order. And, never get complacent!”
Scott Heffield has been involved in teaching and training now for almost 25 years in a variety of subjects ranging from self defence training to high altitude mountaineering. His skill base formed its foundations when he served as a Commando in the Royal Marines seeing active service around the globe. He finished his service as a Physical Training Instructor, responsible for training Royal Marine Commando recruits, trained Commando’s and members of the Special Forces in skills ranging from specialist amphibious operations to specialist Commando skills such as unarmed combat, climbing and abseiling.
After leaving the Royal Marines he joined the Police Service and after a period as an operational Police Officer, became a Police Self-Defence Instructor, a Riot Squad Instructor and qualified as a Taser Instructor. During his period Scott continued to climb and was involved in the planning, organization and the leading of numerous expeditions all over the world.
Scott’s experience as a leader and motivator is well proven following operational active service, training and operating in extreme environments such as the Jungle, Desert Arctic and Antarctic. Four full winters spent mountain training in Norway, fifteen seasons in the European Alps skiing and climbing, expeditions in the Himalaya, and Russia and almost a year living and working in Antarctica speak for themselves.
Over the last few years he has been working on British TV depicted as a motivational expert for channels such as BBC1, BBC2, ITV and most recently working behind the camera with Bear on the Born Survivor series.
Lives in Plymouth with wife Vanessa and two children Poppy and Patrick, and three dogs. Served twenty three years in the Royal Marine and served all around the world. In the jungle, desert and the Arctic.
Is a mountain Instructor (MIA) and a Winter Mountain Leader and keen Paddler. Has climbed in the Himalayas, Alps, America. Was awarded the Royal Humane Stanhope Gold Medal for rescuing an injured climber from the North Ridge of Mount EVEREST.
Enjoys everything outdoors.
Jim Bonney is no stranger to seeking and thriving in adversity – a Mountaineer, Sea kayaker and former Royal Marine Commando Officer. In 2001 whilst attempting an unclimbed route on a mountain in Alaska he fell a 1000ft, dragging his climbing partner with him.
Faced with 2 broken legs and a critically injured climbing partner his remarkable rescue was only the beginning. 18 months of surgery and rehabilitation resulted in him electing to have one of his legs amputated below the knee – to enable him to regain his function. He learned the hard way that rehabilitation is a difficult, lengthy and emotionally challenging process, particularly having attained such an elite level prior to injury – his passion and drive for adventure and challenge, supported by his family, motivated him through the difficult times. He went on to regain his fitness as a Royal Marines Officer and he continued to lead Royal Marines in extreme environments both at sea and on land until he retired in 2010.
His unique experiences saw him selected to lead the Royal Marines recruit rehabilitation organisation and he was active in developing rehabilitation programmes for battle casualties returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Leading and guiding highly motivated individuals, teams and groups who have to operate in challenging situations and environments is core business for Jim. He has unique insight into the physical and emotional challenges that humans can face and thrive from; some of the most effective growth emerges from the traumatic and exceptional circumstances that austerity and unexpected experiences deliver.
Jim lives on Dartmoor with his wife Kirsty, a Doctor and their 2 sons, neither of whom are showing any signs of settling to an indoor life!
Don, a graduate in Psychology, is a keen adventurer and an active sportsman. He has undertaken adventures around the world, including hiking the Grand Canyon, climbing Volcanos in Nicaragua and exploring the Andes in Bolivia. He can usually be found running the courses in the Scottish Highlands, organising corporate events and in the office helping out with the Sales and Marketing. He is also a keen rugby player, skier and crossfitter and has recently taken the role of the resident ‘GoPro’ video maker.
Jeff has over 30 years’ experience organising and leading treks to Mt Aconcagua, Mt Kilimanjaro Tanzania, Mt Toubkal Morocco, Mt Kinabalu Malaysia, Mount Blanc France, Via Ferrata Italian Dolomites also Expeditions and Survival courses in Norway the jungles of Malaysia, Australia’s Northern Territory, Daintree rain forest Queensland, Hinchinbrook Island Qualified M L, SI Inland Kayaking, SI Sea Kayaking. Qualified in exploration medicine, qualified expedition medic, other non-mountain related activities qualified professional rescue diver, professional search and recovery diver, master scuba diver, professional dive master.
Tim grew up in Devon close to Dartmoor and the East Devon Coast, these areas and his involvement with the Scouts allowed for an excellent foundation for a career in the Outdoors.
Tim is a qualified lecturer in Outdoor Adventure, he has experience leading an Army Preparation Course, motivating young adults to be physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for a future career in the military and the Outdoor industry. He has organised some extremely gruelling and challenging charity expeditions to raise money for Help for Heroes and the Army Benevolent Fund.
Tim holds a mountain leader qualification and has lead groups in various mountain regions. He is a cave leader and has taken people in these extreme and challenging environments, he is also a kayaking, canoeing and climbing instructor.
Tim says “the knowledge and skills i have learnt from others within the outdoors has enabled me to achieve, your team is your greatest asset!”
James has attended 5 levels of Wilderness Survival and Tracking School in New Jersey. Based in Durango, Colorado, James has been a survival and outdoor instructor in various capacities for 15 years now. James is a keen white water kayaker, has achieved a Masters degree in Outdoor Education and has spent a lifetime in the outdoors!
Anthony has a vast amount of experience and has gone through an elite level of training with ropes, vertical rescue and climbing. He is a certified rope technician and is able to teach all aspects of ropes and rigging. Spending most of his life outdoors, he has developed a strong survival background and has taught this across the Pacific region of the USA. Unsurprising given his upbringing in Denver, Colorado, his real passion in life is extreme sports and has a Masters Degree in Outdoor Education.
Matt has spent the past 6 years teaching primitive survival skills in between his studies. With much of his time split between his home in Southern California and the High Sierra, he has taught survival classes in Yosemite National Park and has a wide array of qualifications including Swift Water Rescue, Water Safety Instructor, Canoeing and Matt is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.
I am Paul Gardiner, the MD of BGSA. Having grown up as a game ranger in South Africa at Shamwari Game Reserve I have a great passion for the outdoors and wildlife. BGSA forms part of the Mantis Collection, a hotel group founded by my father, Adrian. I am the Group Marketing Director for this growing portfolio of boutique hotels and game reserves spread out across the world (in fact we’re the only group with hotels on all 7 continents). BGSA is transforming lives, come and join us on a course somewhere in the world!
Rachel is the Sales and Marketing manager here at BGSA and although the woods are not her natural habitat she can often be found lending a helping hand on the Surrey courses and Corporate Events around the country. Rachel was lucky enough to attend the launch course in Victoria Falls in January this year and she has been working for the Mantis group for the past 10 years.