Anita is our Reservations Manager here at BGSA and has been working with us for the last 3 years after returning from maternity leave. Although not originally a huge outdoor enthusiast herself, she can be found getting involved at corporate events (when she isn’t needed in the office) where she has the opportunity to put names to faces she can regularly be heard chatting away to on the phone. Anita is passionate about all courses we offer here at the academy and is generally the first person you will speak to with when contacting the academy.
Bear Grylls has become known around the world as one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure. His journey to this acclaim started in the UK, where his late father taught him to climb and adventure.
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.
His TV Emmy nominated show Man Vs Wild / Born Survivor became one of the most watched programmes on the planet with an estimated audience of 1.2 billion. He then progressed to US Network TV, hosting the hit adventure show ‘Running Wild’ on NBC, where he takes some of the world’s best known movie stars on incredible adventures, including the likes of President Barack Obama, Ben Stiller, & Kate Winslet, Zac Efron and Channing Tatum.
Bear also co-owns and hosts the BAFTA award winning ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ on Channel 4, which has sold as a format all around the world.
Bear also owns and hosts ITV & CITV’s ‘Bear Grylls Survival School’ as well as Survivor Games and Absolute Wild for Chinese TV.
Bear is currently the youngest ever Chief Scout to the UK Scout Association and is an honorary Colonel to the Royal Marines Commandos.
He has authored 20 books, including the number one Bestselling autobiography: Mud, Sweat & Tears.
Bear’s latest live project brings the adventure to our doorsteps with the live arena spectacular, Endeavour, which sees Bear recreate some of the greatest moments of human exploration ever.
Communications Manager. Born in South Africa, Kirsten has spent much of her childhood outdoors, and enjoys taking long walks through a variety of terrains to relax. An avid photographer, Kirsten almost always has a camera in hand, and spends much of her free time in search of new exciting locations to frame the perfect shot. She loves being around people, and (we’re not saying she talks a lot but) communicating is certainly what she does best!
I am Paul Gardiner, 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 one of the most exciting projects that I have had the pleasure of developing with my team and we are so proud to be transforming lives and giving people the opportunity to survive just like Bear! Come and join us on a course somewhere in the world!
EXPERIENCE: Police Trainer in Personal Safety, Public Order and First Aid. I have a Certificate in Education and an A1 assessor qualification.
I have summited Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso, Ben Nevis in full winder conditions via the North Face, Tryfan and Snowdon also all in full winder conditions. I have climbed several other peaks within the UK.
FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: Hard to have one favourite, The Alps, The Lake District and the seaside
LEAST FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: In a cave/confined spaces and on bridges that are over water!!
BG experience: Have been teaching and assessing on the EATS, (or PTLLS as was), since the courses began.
TOP SURVIVAL TIP: Look after your feet, as soon as you feel uncomfortable, stop and sort out the problem, it’ll save a whole lot of pain later.
WORST GROSS EAT: I think I must have been lucky and gotten away with it so far….live meal worms have been the worst, these seem to be common on the assessment day ~ maybe someone will bring something really disgusting for me to eat one day???
Rachel is the Operations Director here at BGSA and although the woods and mountains are not her natural habitat she can often be found travelling the globe in search of new locations for our academies and getting stuck in on courses and Corporate Events around the country. Rachel was lucky enough to head up launches of our courses in Victoria Falls, China & Las Vegas with the team. Rachel has worked for The Mantis group for the past 11 years and has travelled extensively through Southern Africa making the Survival in the Victoria Falls her favourite location ” The Falls is the most stunning destination with challenging features sure to put anyone to the ultimate test and we have designed the most epic BGSA course here – why not give it a go yourself?….. oh, and it may hurt a little!”
Scott has been involved in teaching and training now for over 27 years in a variety of subjects ranging from self-defense training to 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 and specialist Commando skills such as unarmed combat to fitness training, fitness testing, climbing, abseiling and adventurous training.
After leaving the Royal Marines he joined the Police Service and after a period as an operational Police Officer, became a Police recruit tutor, Self-Defense Instructor, a PSU instructor (Riot Control), qualified as a Taser Instructor and worked as part of numerous Specialist Police Support teams. During this period, Scott continued to climb and was involved in the planning, organization and the leading of adventurous 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 and working in the Himalaya, USA, China, and Russia and almost a year living and working in Antarctica speak for themselves.
Over the last 12 years he has been working on British TV depicted as a motivational expert for channels such as BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Behind the camera, Scott puts his experience to work as a member of Bears Safety Team working as a high ropes technician, crew safety supervisor, survival expert, adventurous activity coordinator and specialist logistics coordinator on shows such as Born Survivor/Man V Wild, Wild Weekend, Running Wild, Get Out Alive and Britain’s Biggest Adventures. More recently Scott has featured alongside Bear on ITV’s Mission Survive and the Bear Grylls Survival School series on CITV. Scott is now an integral part of the team for the Bear Grylls Survival Academy with his focus as Project Development Manager. He is busy these days either filming in extreme environments with Bear, developing new projects worldwide or travelling around the world in search of new locations, the Nevada Desert, the mountains of Beijing and the white-water rapids of Victoria Falls to name but a few.
Steve Holt has been with the company for 15 years and is the Financial Director of BGSA, Mantis Collection and Worldwide Experience. He has travelled extensively, swims daily and loves the outdoors – he is just as happy walking on the North Downs in Surrey, UK, as he is skiing down Mount Hutt in New Zealand. Steve enjoys the challenge of developing BGSA and the many facets of the Bear Grylls brand, around the world. He is known in the office as “The Stig”, due to his other passion for motor sports – he has attended Formula One Grand Prix in 11 countries, as well as the Le Mans 24 hour race, in France.
EXPERIENCE: Tim is a qualified professional outdoor instructor, who has worked his whole life in the outdoor adventure industry. Tim is a specialist survival expert who has consulted in this area for TV shows on Channel 4, ITV and the BBC. He is a qualified to instruct in caving, climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing and swift water rescue. Tim also has an academic degree in outdoor adventure and a Masters in Science, occasionally lecturing in outdoor adventure. Tim has worked all over the world on outdoor expeditions leading groups and training instructors in the outdoors. One responsibility in my career in the outdoors, was to run a military preparation course, which had a high number of young adult join the military (marines, paratroopers and infantry). Also working closely with this group on charity expeditions, raising over £10 000 for Help for Heroes and the Army Benevolent Fund. Tim has been involved in many gruelling expeditions, in one coming expedition, Tim is running self-supported 250 kilometres in under 7 days, across the Atacama Desert in Chile, this desert is known as the driest desert in the world and will be a huge test both physically and mentally.
FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: Mountains and Caves
LEAST FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: City
BEAR GRYLLS EXPERIENCE: Tim has worked for Bear on a wide range of projects, both with TV and outside. One of these TV projects was for Britain’s Biggest Adventure with Bear Grylls for ITV, Tim was a behind the scenes safety cover for the series, scouting locations and helping with the overall production. Tim is also a front of camera presenter alongside Bear, on the Bear Grylls Survival School series for CITV and ITV; where series one saw ten children taken into the wild to survive for two weeks of outdoor adventure and survival tasks. Tim has worked closely with the Bear Grylls Survival Academy since its infancy four years ago, and this work has taken him to locations like China and South Africa to train future instructors to become part of the BGSA family.
TOP SURVIVAL TIP: “Train your mind first and your body next” having the knowledge in a survival situation is critical.
WORST GROSS EAT: Fast food! If we are talking wild food, the worst taste I have ever had was a worm we ate whilst filming Bear Grylls Survival School.
Sales Administrator. William Siddeley is the newest member of the BGSA team having joined the team in January 2016. William lived in South Africa for 7 months and whilst taking part in a huge range of adventurous activities such as Scuba Diving, Mountain Biking, Hiking and Survival Challenges he discovered his passion for adventure. This was all before graduating from the University of Nottingham. Recently William has visited Peru, where he spent time in the Amazon Jungle and completed the Inca Trail. He is extremely excited to share BGSA’s amazing courses with the world and relishes the various challenges they offer.
NAME: Matt Bragg
EXPERIENCE: Ex Royal Marine and outdoor enthusiast.
FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: Dartmoor
LEAST FAVOURITE ENVIRONMENT: Desert
BEAR GRYLLS EXPERIENCE: I started with BGSA in May 2013 and assisted in setting up the academy in Surrey in company with Scott Heffield.
I relocated to the South west in 2014 and set up 24hr Dartmoor courses and lowlands survival courses. I’ve also helped set up the 24 hour courses in Colorado and California.
TOP SURVIVAL TIP: always keep a dry tinder bundle on you and a means of lighting it.
WORST GROSS EAT: Apart from Dom’s cooking in the highlands the worms in America were especially gooey and gritty!