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.

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

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Project Manager (HR) - Halifax - Upto £365 p/day

£315 - £365 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment