the north face waterproof jacket Explorer Ranulph Fiennes shares thrilling tales of global adventures at EDP Business Awards
One excited attendee revealed that he had once planned to travel to Wales just to hear him talk, so was delighted to learn he was speaking in Norfolk.
Another called up on his mobile phone copies of front covers of books he had read penned by Sir Ranulph, both fiction and non fiction.
He also made it into the record books by completing seven marathons on seven continents (including Antarctica) in seven days soon after receiving emergency heart surgery.
Only then did he take up climbing, despite suffering from vertigo, starting with the North Face of the Eiger.
He has raised millions of pounds for charity with each expedition, and a record breaking adventure is planned for next year too, he explains, though at this stage details are a closely guarded secret to prevent any rival groups trying to steal a march on his plans.
Speaking to him before the awards there were two issues on his mind the first, how he could pare back a 50 minute talk into the alloted time of 20 minutes.
And secondly, what was the best way to get back to his home in the West Midlands, was it via the A47 or the A11/A14?
In fact he need not have worried. Keeping the audience enrapt with a mixture of dry humour, matter of fact tales of exploration, and the odd eye wincing picture of a body riven by frost bite or other such ailments, he actually ran over to something close to the 50 minutes he was used to.
So can businesses learn anything from his adventures?
On the face of it Sir Ranulph is unique.
In his books Heat and Cold he details his early life and career before embarking on epic adventures such as the Marathon de Sables in Morocco, and scaling Mount Everest.
As a boy at Eton he recalls climbing buildings and depositing items on the top of them officially known as stegophily. Bombmaking was also something which interested him too.
It is the sort of behaviour that educational experts might today regard as challenging.
It worried his mother too, apparently, but looking back it seems the perfect grounding for the life he was to later lead.
It was his dream to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was killed in action, shortly before he was born, and become a regimental colonel.
But it was not to be, a talent for getting into trouble with his superiors, intentionally or not, combined with a failure to get his A levels was to set him on a different path.
But was he, in fact, trying to follow his father after all?
“I don’t go in for the Freudian stuff at all,” he explained. “I finally accepted that I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do, which is what my father had done,” he said. “I didn’t have A levels which in those days you needed for Sandhurst.
“After eight years in the British Army on a short service commission you get thrown out.”
In 2013 he launched The Coldest Journey, an attempt to cross Antarctica on foot during the southern winter where the temperature falls to minus 90C.
He was forced to withdraw when he suffered severe frostbite, but still claims that “if you are lucky enough to be able to walk around without a crutch, you might as well go for it.”
And this year he become the oldest Briton to complete the Marathon des Sables, a gruelling 156 mile race across the Saharan Desert.
“You want to win so that you can secure the sponsorship, you want to break the records before everyone else.”
“We try to be the first, and one of the best ways of doing that is to see why your predecessors have failed. We study the likely risks and try to avoid them.”