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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?