Hay-on-Wye, Wales - In its 70th year Land Rover, with the help of survivalist Bear Grylls, has been honouring people who exemplify the Land Rover catch-phrase ‘Above and Beyond’ in their daily lives, not in the hope of reward but because that’s who they are.
But even by Gryll’s standards, this teenager from Worcester is pretty special. For most of his life Blake Harris, now 13, has battled with undiagnosed autism, which has led him to encounter some really tough episodes in life.
Then, four years ago, his younger sister Lily Mai was diagnosed with terminal cancer and Blake had to grow up in a hurry to help his single mother, Liz Bishop, look after her. Typical of many autistics, he didn’t make a fuss about it, but quietly got on with dedicating every moment he could to caring for Lily-Mai.
Over the May Day weekend, Blake was due to attend the Hay Festival, to hear his hero Grylls speak at the annual literary festival. So Bishop and Grylls planned a very special surprise: the survivalist arrived at the festival in a camouflaged Land Rover Discovery specially emblazoned with Blake’s name, to take him on a mini-adventure
They went off-roading to a secret wood where Grylls had set up a bespoke shelter for Blake to light a fire, scavenge maggots for a tasty afternoon snack and get to grips with a catapult.
“It’s not often,” Grylls said, “that you get to hang out with such a special young man who has had to deal with so many difficulties in life. He embodies that Above and Beyond spirit and never gives up - that makes him an example to us all.”