Ranulph Fiennes: How One Man Raised £14 Million For UK Charities


Named as one of the UK’s top fundraisers by JustGiving, Sir Ranulph Fiennescontribution to charity is one of the most respected in the country. In just over a decade, his dedication to changing people’s lives has produced over £14 million for charities nationwide – but how did he do it?

Starting in the 1960s, Ranulph has led expeditions across the globe, from the Nile to Norway. This record-breaking explorer is regarded as one of the bravest, most determined adventurers on the planet, whose ongoing commitment to exploration has raised money for countless charities. Ranulph has crossed thousands of miles, through blistering heat and freezing temperatures – he even lost fingers due to severe frostbite in 2000, amongst other injuries, but that has far from slowed him down.

The Unsupported Antarctic Continent Expedition – £4.2 Million

Adventurer Ranulph Fiennes’ first taste of fundraising was in 1992 when he travelled across the continent of Antarctica unsupported. After 93 days, joined by Dr Mike Stroud, he earned the title of the first and longest unsupported journey across the mass of snow and ice, a world-first to this day.

During this journey, Ranulph raised £4.2 million for the MS Society, which offers care and support for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers. In response to his achievement, the society stated: “Sir Ranulph’s fundraising laid the foundations for our current research programme, which has gone on to make ground-breaking discoveries which are bringing us closer to an end to MS”.

The Solo South Pole Expedition – £1.6 Million

In 1995, Ranulph once again made a groundbreaking contribution to scientific research, this time for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Despite needing to be rescued due to kidney stones, he had already raised an astounding £1.6 million for the charity prior to that point. By challenging himself mentally and physically, faced with snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures, Ranulph inspired millions to donate to charity.

The Land Rover 7x7x7 Expedition – £2.3 Million

As a testament to his resilience, not even a heart attack could hold Ranulph back from Land Rover’s 7x7x7 challenge, which saw him complete seven marathons, in seven days, across seven continents. Raising money for the British Heart Foundation, he provided the charity with £2.3 million in 2003 and provided the charity with a new research MRI scanner

Giving himself only four months to recover from a double heart bypass operation, Ranulph ran across Patagonia, the Falkland Islands, Sydney, Singapore, London, Cairo and New York City. Reflecting upon his trip, he described how Singapore was the most difficult, due to the thick humidity and toxic pollution.

The North Face of the Eiger Expedition – £6.5 Million

After heart complications forced Ranulph to abandon his Mount Everest mission, the explorer set his sights on the Eiger, a 3,967-metre mountain in the Bernese Alps. The expedition did not just tackle Ranulph’s fear of heights head-on, but raised £1.8 million for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Delivering Choice Programme.

The Polar Winter Expedition – $2 Million

In 2012, Ranulph took to Antarctica once again – but this time, during the southern winter. Raising $2 million for Seeing is Believing, an international charity that has pledged to prevent avoidable blindness, Ranulph’s mission was one of the most dangerous he had ever attempted and resulted in him being evacuated due to frostbite. Despite this, he still spent five months enduring conditions colder than he had ever experienced.

National and International Recognition:

  • 1968 – Awarded the French Parachute Wings
  • 1968 – Earned the Dhofar Campaign Medal
  • 1970 – Won the Sultan of Oman’s Bravery Medal
  • 1982 – Titled Man of the Year
  • 1983 – Awarded the Livingstone Gold Medal
  • 1984 – Won the Gold Medal NY Explorers Club
  • 1984 – Titled by Guinness Book of Records as The World’s Greatest Living Explorer
  • 1984 – Fndr’s Medal RGS award
  • 1986 – Earned the Polar Medal for his contribution to exploration
  • 1990 – Won ITV’s award for Event of the Decade
  • 1993 – Awarded an OBE for his charitable services
  • 1994 – Second clasp on his Polar Medal (to this day, Ranulph is the only person to have earned a double clasp honouring his Arctic and Antarctic exploration)
  • 2000 – Won the Millennium Award for Navigation
  • 2007 – Received ITV’s Greatest Britons Award for Sport
  • 2007 – Ranked 94th on The Daily Telegraph’s Top 100 Living Geniuses
  • 2010 – Named the top UK celebrity fundraiser, by JustGiving
  • 2012 – Men of the Year by Top Gear Magazine

Book Ranulph Fiennes

Ranulph Fiennes’ charity work has raised money for Marie Curie, The British Heart Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to name a few of the charities he continues to support. From climbing the highest mountains and circumnavigating the world, to polar expeditions and world firsts, Ranulph’s insatiable appetite for extreme adventure, risking life and limb, has made an unbeatable impact on UK charities.

With countless stories to tell, Ranulph Fiennes is a popular after-dinner speaker. Featuring at events worldwide, he keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with his tales of adventure. To book him, contact us by filling in our online contact form or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.