Dwayne Fields: 'I want the next Attenborough to be a black person'

First black Briton to reach North Pole urges inner-city youths to get out to the countryside

A man from Hackney who turned his life around after narrowly surviving a street shooting is set to become the first black Briton to walk to the South Pole.

Dwayne Fields will begin a 58-day, 1,150km trek to the most hostile environment on earth in November

He is already the first black British man to have reached the North Pole, and hopes his exploits will encourage more inner-city teenagers to explore the British countryside.

The 29-year-old's achievements stand out because the field of polar exploration is dominated by "middle-aged white guys. They're normally quite well-to-do people so I'm trying to break the mould," says Fields.

"Inner city people feel it's not for them, but it's because you don't see it. I want to say that you can do it. Even the ramblers, when I go out in Dartmoor, I see no young people and I've never actually seen a black person in the countryside."

Fields, who arrived in Britain from Jamaica at the age of six, says it's foolish for young people in the less well off areas of London to believe that "everyone's going to be a rapper or a musician," so he does talks in schools to suggest that there is more than one career choice.

"I want the next David Attenborough to be a black person," he says.

He now works part-time at a bank, but just over a decade ago Fields was stabbed in Tottenham. "The knife hit my belt, so it didn't go in as far as it could have done," he says cheerfully. And in 2004, he almost lost his life.  After scaring off a youth he suspected of stealing his brother's moped, the boy came back with a gun.

"He stood seven or eight feet away from me and pointed the gun straight at me. I said 'I don't think it needs to go that far'. He looked at me, and he looked sad, but really maddened. He pulled the trigger. I swore I saw the bullet come out, and I was sure it must have hit me. But as his friends pulled him away I realised it hadn't gone off. It was from that day that I decided to do something."

That something was an expedition to the North Pole, which he reached in 2010. But at three times the distance, and hauling a great deal more luggage, the South Pole is a much bigger ask.

Fields is aiming to raise £100,000 for the expedition: £60,000 to cover costs, and an additional £40,000 to split between Help for Heroes and the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project