Special forces hero Ant Middleton reveals ‘I’m not scared of anything apart from being clean shaven’ at Haven House fundraiser
PUBLISHED: 13:07 28 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:07 28 February 2017
With deadly combat skills and an aura oozing masculinity Ant Middleton is a dangerous combination to behold (and that is just from Google images).
But when I meet him in real life, ahead of the Ask Ant fundraising night for Haven’s House Children’s Hospice, the special forces hero showed another side to his character.
Extremely confident, the former Special Boat Service (SBS) commando revealed that beneath the TV tough guy image there was a deeply compassionate side to him.
“I have a soft spot for children,” he said, explaining why he was taking part in the fundraising effort, which rustled up nearly £7,000 for charity based in High Road, Woodford Green.
“They are the future and adults have a responsibility to nurture them. I do a lot with the cadets, it gives them discipline and they will know a couple of years in if they want to join or not.”
Ant joined the Royal Engineers at the age of 16, and then served with the Royal Marines before passing the SBS’ selection test. He shot to fame as the instructor on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, and is now spearheading its new show Mutiny.
And Ant told the Recorder that if any youngsters in the borough are planning to apply to the SAS they will have to be versatile.
“You need to be a chameleon and adapt to any situation,” he added.
“You have got to be able to blend into your surroundings.
“You also need social skills – we are not just people that run around with guns, we operate behind enemy lines.”
Ant’s journey has taken him off grid in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and carrying out security detailing in South Africa, said that if “you are up for the challenge” it is a good career.
“One of the reasons I joined the special forces was because you could do what you wanted – I grew a beard and have had one for five years,” he said. “I am not scared of anything, but I had a dream I was clean shaven and that was quite frightening”.
Although there is an element of autonomy to being part of the most formidable force in the country, it does not come without sacrifice.
“Resistance to integration was the hardest part,” he said, not giving away any mission ops as he was bound by the Official Secrets Act.
“I wanted to be tested and stripped down to my bare essentials. The mind games and stress positions are physically and mentally draining – it is hard to keep control of your own mind.
Although Ant “never doubted” he would pass selection, he said the fear of failing was always there but he knew he wouldn’t give up.
“People are fed up with the restraints of society and the health and safety bubble –they want to feel alive,” he added, explaining why candidates put themselves through the selection experience.
“I enjoy combat side and going into the combat zone, that’s what I miss the most. It’s that adrenaline, when you are close to losing your life you feel alive, I always need to be doing something that is challenging and risky”.
Ant was questioned by Time 107.5FM presenter Jessie Brooke and 170 audience members at Sir James Hawkey Hall, Woodford Green, and also posed for selfies with fans to raise money for Haven House.
Scott Roberts, PR and celebrity manager at Haven House, said the event “exceeded expectations”
“He was so generous in making sure all of our guests had the opportunity to have a selfie with him and it was incredible to see people attending from as far as Bristol, Southampton and Leicestershire.
“We like to thank our sponsor, Lexus Woodford, along with all of the companies who generously donated prizes for our auction and raffle.”
Haven House next fundrasing event is a star-studded comedy night at the Union Chapel in Islington on April 18. To buy tickets please visit havenhouse.org.uk/comedynight.