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Bear Grylls joins forces with British Army

A shared passion for helping young people make the most of themselves has seen adventurer Bear Grylls named Honorary Colonel of The Army Foundation College (Harrogate) (AFC(H)).

Colonel Grylls will serve as a figurehead for AFC(H), which delivers basic training to soldiers joining the Army under the age of 18.

A Number One bestselling author, and former Army Reservist, Bear Grylls has a strong pedigree of adventure, including climbing Mount Everest, and hosting multiple adventure TV shows across every continent on earth. The first ever Chief Ambassador to the World Scout Organization, he was appointed an OBE in 2019 for services to young people, the media and charity.

Colonel Grylls said: “I am so proud to have been appointed Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College by His Majesty The King. The AFC(H) builds the character, competence, and resilience of young people to help them succeed in life and within the military.

The AFC(H) builds the character, competence, and resilience of young people to help them succeed in life and within the military." Colonel Bear Grylls

“No matter where you come from, if you’re willing to do your best and live by the Army’s Values and Standards then the College offers adventure, challenge, qualifications, friends for life, and confidence that will last a lifetime.

“Watch this space for many adventures ahead and respect to all of you.”

The Army Foundation College is the only Junior Entry Basic Training establishment in the British Army. Through a mix of military training, personal development, and education it provides young people with the skills to succeed as soldiers, and in their lives beyond the military.

Colonel Grylls’ first official duty will be as Senior Inspecting Officer at the graduation next month, which will see some 600 Junior Soldiers march off the parade square to start their next phase of training.

AFC(H)’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mike Butler said that everyone at the unit was “thrilled” by the appointment of Colonel Bear, as he will be known informally.

“An inspirational character for Junior Soldiers, Colonel Bear shares our passion for helping young people grow and develop, especially in confidence and resilience,” Lt Col Butler said. “His message of ‘Courage, Kindness, and Never Give Up’ is a perfect match for the British Army values and standards we strive to live by. 

An inspirational character for Junior Soldiers, Colonel Bear shares our passion for helping young people grow and develop, especially in confidence and resilience.” Lt Col Mike Butler
Armed Foundation College (Harrogate)

“We can’t wait to work with Colonel Bear as he shares in the exciting and rewarding journey of the Army’s youngest recruits.”​​

Honorary Colonels do not need to have a background in the military. Their role is to foster ‘esprit de corps’ and support their unit’s leadership teams without involvement in the daily running of the unit.

For more information, resources and how to join junior training at AFC Harrogate click here.