Family Tree Tuesday – Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls is an English adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is best known for his television series Man vs. Wild or also known as Born Survivor in the United Kingdom. He has done many expeditions, in 2000 he led the first team to circumnavigate the U.K. on a personal watercraft or jet ski, taking about 30 days, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He also rowed naked for 22 miles in a homemade bathtub along the Thames to raise funds for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident. In 2005, Grylls created a world record for the highest open-air formal dinner party alongside the balloonist and mountaineer David Hempleman-Adams and Lt. Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team, which they did under a hot-air balloon at 25,000 feet, dressed in full mess dress and oxygen masks. Grylls set a Guinness world record by a few seconds in 2008 along with double amputee Al Hodgson and the Scotsman Freddy MacDonald for the longest continuous indoor freefall using a vertical wind tunnel in Milton Keynes. In July 2009, he was appointed the youngest ever Chief Scout by The Scout Association at the age of 35.
Grylls was born Edward Michael Grylls on June 7, 1974 to the late Conservative party politician Sir Michael Grylls and Lady Sarah Grylls. Although he was christened “Edward” he has legally changed his forename to “Bear”. He learned to climb and sail from his father, who was a member of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron. As a teenager, he learned to skydive and earned a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate. Grylls joined the British Army and served in the part-time United Kingdom Special Forces Reserve, with 21 Regiment Special Air Service, 21 SAS(R) for 3 years until 1996.
Sir Michael Grylls was a British Conservative politician. He was implicated in a political scandal in the 1990s called the cash-for-questions affair. Grylls joined the Royal Marines since his eyesight was not good enough for the Navy. He studied Spanish at the University of Madrid and later set up a wine importing firm called Costa Brava Company. His description of some of his products as “Spanish champagne” provoked the ire of both the makers of genuine champagne and its London importers; he was unsuccessfully prosecuted for trading under a false description, but they won a civil writ against him for “passing off” (misrepresenting his goods by using someone else’s trademark.)
Bear Grylls’ maternal grandmother Patricia Ford was the first woman Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland, and the second woman to be returned to a seat in Westminster from a constituency in Ireland (the first to take her seat). Her father was Ulster Unionist MP Sir Walter D. Smiles who was the grandson of Scottish author and reformer Samuel Smiles. Her great-aunt was Isabella Beeton, English author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
Bear’s maternal grandfather Neville Montagu Ford belongs to a large family of cricketers. Neville’s grandfather William Augustus Ford played for MCC from 1839 to 1849. His uncle Francis Ford played for England, Middlesex, and MCC. His grandmother Lavinia, the daughter of the 4th Lord Lyttelton, belonged to another family of cricketers.
Did you know Bear achieved his childhood dream in 1998 and entered the Guinness Book of Records, as the youngest Briton, at 23, to summit Mount Everest? He did it just 18 months after injuring his back.
(The feat has since been surpassed by Jake Meyer and, at age 19, by Rob Gauntlett.)
Check out Bear Grylls’ family tree and see how you are related!