TV presenter and bushcraft expert Ray Mears has been named as a Patron of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group in 2018.
Ray, who is also an author and bushcraft instructor with his company Woodlore, will help promote the islands as a unique place to visit and enjoy.
He is best-known for fronting popular TV programmes including Ray Mears’ World of Survival, Extreme Survival, Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, Ray Mears Goes Walkabout, and Wild Britain with Ray Mears – which included a 2013 episode set on the Isles of Scilly.
Ray said: “I’m delighted to be working with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to promote and support this very special UK destination. I’m lucky because my life is about nature, so I don’t feel the frenetic pace of life that many other people do, but for people who are caught up in technology and busy lifestyles, the Isles of Scilly is a perfect panacea.
“Scilly is one of those places which just makes you feel good; there are old-fashioned values on the islands that we’ve forgotten - people have time for each other, and it’s a simpler way of life. Everyone is very friendly and it’s lovely as a visitor to be welcomed into that community while you’re there.
“As well as having the most incredible flora and fauna of course, and if it’s a sunny day, Scilly looks just like the Mediterranean. You feel so refreshed from experiencing it and it’s a true haven to unwind from stress.”
In addition to helping to promote the Isles of Scilly as a destination to visit, Ray will work with the Steamship Group to help publicise its charitable activities, especially those which directly support island-based nature initiatives. This includes the RSPB’s Seabird Recovery Project, which the Group has helped by training some of its staff to work with wildlife experts to protect seabirds and help keep off-islands free of rats.
The Group also supports marine conservation charity ORCA OceanWatch annually, hosting teams as they carry out surveys to collect sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises from on-board the Scillonian III ferry, to help with the conservation of cetaceans and raise awareness of the diverse marine wildlife around the UK coastline.
Ray will also meet recipients of the Steamship Group’s Community Fund, which supports local community projects and good causes by awarding grants of up to £10,000.
Sharon Sandercock, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Ray; he is the perfect person to front our campaigns and charitable work supporting projects which have direct benefits on the local environment and wildlife on the Isles of Scilly.
“Ray will also be fantastic at helping us to promote the destination; there can be few people better placed to promote the unique charms of the Isles of Scilly, with its peaceful, relaxed atmosphere offering a return to a simpler way of life."
Ray and his wife Ruth are travelling over to Scilly in May to spend more time exploring the islands, meeting Steamship Group staff and finding out about island-based wildlife projects and charitable initiatives backed by the Group.
Ray added: “I’m really looking forward to visiting some off-islands and finding out more about the work going on to support and create better, more sustainable habitats for wildlife. The Seabird Recovery Project is an amazing example of some of the great work the RSPB does and it’s fantastic to be involved in supporting that through the Steamship Group.”
Read more from Ray about his thoughts on the Isles of Scilly in the latest edition of the Isles of Scilly Travel on-board publication, S Magazine.