Sir Ranulph Fiennes hopes expedition will raise £10m for Seeing is Believing

He says he cannot disclose details about the expedition for fear of rival explorers doing it first

Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has said he hopes to raise £10m for the global sight-loss campaign Seeing is Believing through his next expedition.

Seeing is Believing aims to end preventable sight loss and is a partnership between Standard Chartered Bank and the charity the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

Speaking to Third Sector after addressing delegates at the Institute of Fundraising National Convention yesterday, Fiennes said he could not disclose details about the expedition or when it would take place for fear of rival explorers from Norway doing it first.

The former SAS soldier, who has been named the world’s greatest living explorer by Guinness World Records, has raised £14.8m for UK charities during his career.

He gave delegates at the convention a humorous take on his achievements, which include being the first person to reach both poles by surface travel and discovering a lost city in Oman.

"Seeing is Believing works to tackle river blindness and help short-sighted children in parts of the world where they don’t automatically get glasses," he said. "In some parts of India short-sighted children don’t go to school.

"It costs about £9 on average for a pair of spectacles for children," he said. The campaign aims to raise $100m (£64m) by 2020 to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

Fiennes is also a trustee of the Friends of The Fiennes Institute in Antigua, set up in 1929 by his grandfather Sir Eustace Fiennes, who was then governor of the Leeward Islands.

"It was set up as a resting place for lepers and it cares for about 100 people," he said. "I work for them only when we are not doing expeditions."

He said Prince Charles, who is patron of the expeditions, often chooses which charities to support.

- Read more news and comment from this year's IoF National Convention

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