Joanna Lumley was born in Kashmir, India, on 1st May 1946. Her father was a major in the Gurkha Rifles, and she spent most of her early childhood in the Far East where her father was posted.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been hailed as ‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records.
Born in the UK in 1944, just after his father was killed in the war, Sir Ranulph was brought up in South Africa but studied in England. He joined the Royal Scots Greys and later the SAS. As the youngest Captain in the British Army, he fought Marxist terrorists and received the Sultan of Oman’s Bravery Medal from HM the Queen.
His many achievements include being the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross both the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis, leading the first hovercraft expedition up the longest river in the world (the Nile) in 1968/1969, completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent – the longest unsupported polar journey in history, the first 7x7x7 (seven marathons in only seven days on all seven continents) and in 2009 he successfully summited Everest, becoming the oldest Briton to do so.
Photograph courtesy of Don Lambert
Bear Grylls has become known around the world as one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure. His journey to this acclaim started in the UK on the Isle of Wight, where his late father taught him to climb and sail. Trained from a young age in martial arts, Bear went on to spend three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, serving with 21 SAS. It was here that he perfected many of the skills that his fans all over the world enjoy watching him pit against nature. Despite a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, where he broke his back in three places, and after enduring months in military rehabilitation, Bear went on to become one of the youngest ever climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
He says: ”When I left the Armed Forces I knew that I still had a huge amount to give, and I expect the same is also true for most police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others who have served in uniform. Harnessing their energy and skills to inspire young and unemployed people to help their communities is a fantastic idea and one that I fully support. I am really excited to be an Ambassador for SERVE ON and I hope that you will get involved in any way you can.’
Chris Moon is a former Army officer who worked for a charity specialising in clearing land mines and the debris of war in Asia and Africa. He is one of the few westerners to have survived kidnap in Cambodia by Khmer Rouge guerrillas, negotiating not only his own release but also that of his two Khmer staff after an ordeal of threatened execution in which he never assumed the role of victim.
In 1995 in Mozambique he was blown up walking in a cleared area resulting in the loss of his lower right arm and leg. He survived through sheer determination and fitness. Less than a year after leaving hospital he completed the London Marathon and subsequently many of the toughest ultra marathons in the world to support charities assisting the disabled.
Chris Moon is the first amputee to finish the Great Sahara Run and the Badwater 135 mile Death Valley Ultra (5 marathons back to back), which takes place in temperatures close to those recommended for slow cooking chicken. His methods for transforming adversity and disadvantage into challenge and achievement and going the extra mile are relevant to us all. He believes we can all go one step beyond our limits and challenge our own concept of limitation.
Simon founded Serve On in 2013 with the mission to bring purpose to the potential of people from all walks of life, building teams to serve communities at home and abroad. He has been instrumental in shaping our strategy and continues to find opportunities to help Serve On to grow and flourish.
Simon has been a soldier, an entrepreneur, a visionary and a social entrepreneur. He served in the British Army as an Officer in the Light Dragoons. His business career started in the restaurant business in which he worked for 7 years culminating in the acquisition of the Pierre Victoire restaurant group after a complex management buyout.
Helping to transform lives by helping people to discover and fulfil their potential to be the change in the world has since become his passion. He established a charity, Believe, whose mission was to inspire change amongst the socially excluded - including young and adult offenders. The charity pioneered the use of coaching and mentoring in prisons.
He was the co-founder and first CEO of the Mowgli Foundation, an international charity providing mentoring for young entrepreneurs, the drivers of business growth, in the Middle East and North Africa. He is non-executive Chairman of Friska, a rapidly growing restaurant group pioneering healthy locally produced fast food and non executive director of Chomp an innovative burger business. He is a board member of Bristol Together, which specialises in creating jobs for homeless and ex offenders in rebuilding derelict properties. He is a board member of Urban Pursuit, which aims to create new opportunities on the point of exclusion from school. He has recently published a book commissioned by the Diocese of Bath & Wells – Be – A Disciple’s Journey – to inspire leadership and social justice from within the Church.
He has worked extensively with Help for Heroes to design and establish the Pathfinder programme to support the transition of wounded soldiers back into civilian life. He has also worked with Help for Heroes and the Institute of Leadership & Management to create an internal coaching programme to train veterans to be coaches and to transform the internal culture. As a result of his pioneering work with wounded, injured and sick veterans, Simon has been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study Military Mental Health and PTSD in the US and Australia in 2016.
As a member of the UK Centre for Social Justice’s reports Breakdown/Breakthrough Britain and Locked Up Potential led by Jonathan Aitken, he was able to use his experience of working with the socially disengaged to contribute to reports which have influenced government policy.
Simon is married, has four daughters and lives in Bath. He is a regular public speaker and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. He is a highly experienced facilitator, coach and mentor working with a wide range of client groups.
After working in the hospitality trade and playing Rugby Union for his home team, Peter was looking for something more to challenge himself, physically and mentally, so joined the Royal Marines Commandos.
He spent five rewarding years with them but, on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, his life changed when the vehicle that he was in was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). The impact killed one comrade and left another with numerous body burns. Peter lost both legs and suffered many other injuries including a fractured spine and a punctured lung.
Whilst going through rehabilitation, Peter learned how to ski and joined the British Disabled Ski Team, but after several seasons with the team, winning multiple medals, Peter had to retire due to a shoulder injury and he found himself at his lowest ebb.
Not only had he lost the military career that he so loved, he now had no ski career to soften the blow. It was at this point that Peter enrolled on a Pathfinder course being run by one of the many service charities and heard about Serve On.
He was unsure at first about joining up due to his disabilities, but he has not looked back since that first training weekend, having become the charity's first double amputee search and rescue volunteer.
As well as his roles as a fully-qualified IRT member, an ambassador for Serve On and the members' representative, Peter is also an ambassador for Help for Heroes and a governor at his daughter's school. Peter is married with two kids and is looking forward to the opportunity to put his IRT skills to use when a disaster strikes.
Dan Cooke is a fire and rescue officer and fire instructor who has been helping others and leading teams for the past 22 years. Dan has lead many search and rescue missions around the world and is selflessly committed to his teams performance - always inspiring others to serve something greater than themselves. Dan has helped transform the Serve On team focusing on developing stronger foundations for our work and broadening our operational capabilities whilst continuing to learn from our past.
Dan is a qualified teacher and has taught in 16 schools 2 universities and trained the military, emergency services and response volunteers on four continents.
Now is a great time to get involved in an amazing organisation that is growing every day, we are looking for people to share this journey and find a purpose in saving lives and helping others!
Craig had already been doing life-saving volunteering for ten years with his local lifeboat while he was serving with the Corp of Signals so when he left the Army in 2013 he was determined to stay involved with search and rescue. Serve On was looking for an Operations Manager and he jumped at the chance. He loved the Army, he said, but he didn’t always get the chance to do the good works he does now. Whether it's at home organising the Community Resilience Team, in the Philippines training local first responders, in Cumbria helping flood victims or in the hurricane-devastated Caribbean on deployment with the International Response Team, Craig gives his all the to the cause.
Peter provides specialist emergency preparedness resilience and response to the local health economies of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and delivers emergency planning support to Shropshire Community Health Trust.
Peter was also the strategic lead for NHS Trusts providing guidance support. Provision of quality and compliance assurance to the Department of Health. Writing and delivering plans and exercises. Providing 24/7 incident management support. Providing single point of access to health service by partner agencies.
With years of operational experience with the International Response Team, he is an invaluable source of advise and guidance for Serve On.
Paul has over 30 years’ experience in technology, e-commerce business services, procurement, sales and marketing. Paul joined Icon Connect in 2002 and is responsible for Sales and Marketing and Finance and is the co-Owner.
Prior to Icon Connect, Paul founded Adicia, an outsourced accounting services firm. Prior to Adicia, Paul was Director of Sales and Business Services for Basaar, a provider of Oracle e-procurement as an out-sourced service. Prior to Basaar, Paul was the General Manager EMEA at MRO Software. Prior to MRO, Paul was the VP of Europe of Elcom.com, where he was responsible for selling, marketing and deploying electronic commerce systems for companies around the world.
Paul has had successful careers across multiple functions including purchasing, sales and marketing and product management for companies including LANTEC Information Services (formerly Businessland), NeXT Computer, NetFrame, Acorn Computer and Rank Xerox. Paul has gained formal qualifications in Business Studies and from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. He is retained by a number of leading organisations in the e-commerce, supply chain and procurement fields as well as being a founder of the e-procurement best practice network and an advisor to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply on e-commerce.
Matt Huckin works as a freelance consultant providing strategic and tactical expertise to challenge and support individuals and organisations seeking to improve their own performance. He is passionate about finding pragmatic ways to enable people to achieve their goals.
With a 30 year career in HR, initially with BP, then Lloyds Bank, Thames Water, American Water, RWE AG, and IMI plc, Matt has a wealth of experience in complex international businesses. He has lived and worked overseas and learned the value of listening to others before seeking to advise them.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant Matt was the Group HR Director for IMI plc, a FTSE 100, £3billion revenue industrial engineering company. Matt was accountable for developing people and organisation interventions that enabled the business to deliver great value to customers; excellent returns to shareholders; a positive employment experience for 16,000+ people; and a positive impact on society. Matt served on the Board Remuneration & Nominations Committees, was a member of the Executive Committee and ran the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and Charities committee.
In addition to Matt’s consulting work he is a Trustee of Serve On, contributing to this new charity which is providing opportunities for ex service men and women to continue to serve in the community, capitalising on their skills and experience which in turn are used to drive positive futures for young people who are struggling in society.
Matt is married with four children and splits his time between the UK and south west France where he is renovating a farm and very slowly improving his French.
Abb is an IT consultant who helps businesses grow and scale their IT and development processes.
He has over 15 years’ experience across a number of sectors starting with Ernst & Young and moving on to TfL, London Stock Exchange, Springer Healthcare, Royal Mail, Worldpay, Financial Conduct Authority and he is now trying his luck in the gambling industry creating new processes and software for Ladbrokes and Coral.
Abb is the only trustee who is also a fully operational member of the Serve On IRT (International Response team), Having been a qualified member since 2012 he has been on two major international deployments and has helped run overseas training courses.
Alex served for 23 years in the regular Army in a variety of leadership and management roles, including operational service in the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Iraq & Afghanistan. During his Army service he earned a MA in Military Studies, with his dissertation exploring the Military Covenant.
On leaving the Army, Alex worked for the Prime Minister's Special Representative for Veterans' Transition, Lord Ashcroft, as the lead researcher and co-author of the Veterans’ Transition Review, a Government-sponsored report about the provision of transition and post-service support for military personnel and families.
He became aware of Serve On while researching volunteer organisations and has been a keen supporter and advocate of Serve On ever since.
He has also worked as a consultant, providing subject matter expertise to a variety of clients in the resettlement/transition and emergency planning, security and resilience sectors and managed a significant resilience contract in the UK nuclear industry.
Alex is now the Director of a research centre at Anglia Ruskin University, carrying out key research into military veterans and their families.
Nick served in the Royal Air Force for 13 years as a Tornado F3 navigator and Qualified Weapons Instructor, including operational service in the UK, Iraq and Afghanistan. On realising that the future for navigators was somewhat limited with the introduction of UAVs and the procurement of single seat replacements for Tornado, Nick left the RAF and joined Accenture as a management consultant.
Nick is now a Partner with Q5, a specialist organisation design and strategy consultancy based in Westminster, London. He is looking forward to bringing his combined skillset from his time in the RAF and as a consultant to bear in supporting the operations and growth of ServeOn.