Life could have been very different for Dwayne Fields.
Born in Jamaica, at the age of six he moved with his family to an estate in east London. There, he would eventually find himself going down a certain path that was destined to end badly.
He was just 10 years old when he was first threatened with a knife. In the years that followed he’d be robbed on multiple occasions leaving him with scars across his abdomen to show for it. One time, after finding himself on a rival estate, he had a gun drawn, aimed and fired at him almost at point blank. By some miracle the gun jammed and he managed to escape unscathed.
It was at that point, as Dwayne explains to us as we walk together on a cold early Spring day in an east London park, that he knew he needed to take action to divert himself from the dangerous direction he was heading in. In search of headspace, he began paying visits to the open spaces of Hackney Marshes, a neutral ground that he quickly found would transport him away from the noise and mania of the city.
And he then started to expand his boundaries, pushing beyond the city’s edge into Epping Forest where he takes us to next; the place where, all of a sudden, he felt he was reconnected with something that had been central to his life as a young child in Jamaica: time outdoors. Those moments, he says, were transformative for him…
First stop Epping. Next stop the Arctic. Dwayne’s horizon expanded and expanded; to marathons, the UK’s mountain ranges and then eventually, after raising £23,000 in donations, to becoming the first Black Briton to trek to the North Pole.