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Famous British personalities

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Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham Fiennes

(1944 - )
Profession: Explorer
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE (born 7 March 1944), usually known simply as Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, is a British explorer and holder of several endurance records. He was the first man to visit both the north and south poles by land.

Fiennes was born in England shortly after the death of his father, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 2nd Baronet, who was killed in action in World War II (1943, at Monte Cassino). On his birth Fiennes inherited his father's baronetcy, becoming the 3rd Baronet. After the war his mother moved the family to South Africa where he remained until he was twelve. Ranulph then returned to be educated at Eton, after which he joined the British Army.

Ranulph Fiennes married his childhood sweetheart Virginia Pepper ("Ginny") in 1970; the two remained married until her death in February 2004.

He is the third cousin of Hollywood film actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes, and is a distant cousin of Britain's royal family. Despite having almost no acting experience, Ranulph Fiennes was on the shortlist to replace Sean Connery in the role of James Bond. Fiennes was summarily rejected on meeting Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, who said his hands were too big and he had "a face like a farmer's". Fiennes owns and operates a sheep and cattle farm on Exmoor.

Jim Shekhdar

(1946 - )
Profession: Sportsman
Born on 13th November 1946 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, Jim Shekhdar qualified as a Civil Engineer in 1970 at London University. He was involved in the building of the M4 motorway in Berkshire before emigrating to Australia in 1971 where he was involved with the maintenance of 200 miles of coast line at the northern end of New South Wales.

In 1972 he moved to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea as a roadbuilder and in 1973 to build Airports in Zaire. He then moved in 1976 to the United Arab Emerates and to New Zealand in 1980. He then changed career paths to computers before taking on the biggest challenge of his life.

On the 29th June 2000 Jim Shekhdar set off from Peru aboard 'Le Shark' in an attempt to become the first person to row across the Pacific Ocean. On 30th March 2001, after 273 days, 13 hours and 12 minutes, he succesfully completed the crossing when he reached Australia.

Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave

(1962 - )
Profession: Sportsman
English oarsman

Probably the greatest Olympian ever, Redgrave was Gold medallist at five successive Olympics in the physically demanding sport of Rowing, winning the coxed fours in 1984 and the coxless pairs in 1988 and 1992. He also won four gold medals at the World Championships 1986-93, gold at the World Indoor Championships in 1991, and was a member of the winning four-man bobsleigh team at the national bobsleigh championships in 1989. He won the coxless pairs for the UK with Matthew Pinsent at the world championships in 1991, 1993-95, and the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, becoming only the fourth person to win gold medals at four consecutive Olympics. Together with Matthew Pinsent, he was a member of the British coxless fours team which won a gold medal at the final of the inaugural World Cup Regatta in 1997. He completed his fifth Olympic title win in Sydney in 2000 in the Coxless fours and was subsequently knighted.

Olympic games gold: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000

Denise Caffari

(1974 - )
Profession: Sportsman
English Yachtswoman

Dee started her career as a secondary school PE teacher, but after spending some time travelling the world, she returned to the UK to take up a job with Mike Golding Yacht Racing.

During the Global Challenge 2004/5, Dee successfully skippered 18 amateur yachtsmen around the world, sailing the same 72ft yacht which she will use to attempt this solo circumnavigation. Dee was the only female skipper in the race and proved herself more than capable of handling the physical and mental demands of directing the amateur crew for up to six weeks at a time over seven gruelling legs.

On the 21st May 2006, Dee sailed back into Southampton after 6 months at sea alone. Having set a new World Record and become the first woman in history to sail single-handed, non-stop, west about the globe, against the prevailing winds and currents.

Ellen MacArthur

(1977 - )
Profession: Sportsman
English Yachtswoman

Born in Derbyshire, Ellen MacArthur had the desire to become a yachtswoman at a very early age, even saving her school dinner money to save for her first boat. After setting sailing records around Britain's coast she entered for the world's toughest race - the 2000 Vendee Globe. Between 2000 and 2001 MacArthur spent 94 days at sea tackling the icy Southern Ocean, the treacherous Cape Horn and the expanse of the Atlantic, sleeping in bursts of 15 minutes at a time.

Ellen's epic journey was a record breaker. She was the fastest woman to sail around the globe. She was the youngest ever finisher in the Vendee race and she was only the second person to sail round the world solo in less than 100 days - the first woman. On January 29 for one day, the relatively inexperienced MacArthur, actually took a slim lead, and became the first woman ever to be a leader in the race. Before the forestay snapped, MacArthur had to spend the night of January 30 changing her port daggerboard with the starboard one after it hit a submerged container. She eventually captured second place in the Vendee Globe Race

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