On Monday 20th January the Tom Avery Society had the pleasure of listening to Lewis Pugh, the “human polar bear”, detailing his experiences as an extreme climate endurance swimmer. At the heart of the talk was Lewis’ inspirational message that we should all follow our dreams, as he has, and continues to do so, by raising global awareness of the dangers of climate change. He spoke in depth about his incredible journey to the North Pole, where he swam one kilometre in -1.7 degree Celsius, as well as his physical and mental training leading up to the, now world-renowned, expedition.

Thanks to Lewis and his team, a huge amount of publicity was raised, leading to only one head of state (no guesses who…) refusing to meet with him. The atmosphere in the MMS was one of absolute admiration, particularly when he spoke of his three ‘anchors’ and of his ability to overcome whatever he was faced with – including losing all feeling in his hands for four months after the swim!

Currently he is in talks with the South African government to stop their drilling for gas in the arid Karoo region, and he continues to push himself to new levels with increasingly challenging goals that no human being previously thought possible. The talk was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and looks set to have a life-changing influence on many of those listening.

Ellie Sutherland (LVI, South) and Ellie Connor (LVI, West)