Extreme environment athlete Richard Parks is joining forces with educational charity Techniquest as its new ambassador.

The former Wales international rugby player will work collaboratively with Techniquest over the next three years inspiring new generations to discover science through his world record expeditions.

Techniquest ambassador Richard Parks with Lesley Kirkpatrick and Clare James
©Steve Pope – Fotowales

Richard made history becoming the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents and stand on the North and South Poles in the same calendar year, completing his world first 737 Challenge in under seven months.

For almost a decade Richard has developed and executed world-first expeditions in the furthest corners of our planet at the cutting edge of performance and research, working with students and organisations using his experiences, both negative and positive, to empower an adventurous mindset and develop critical thinking skills.

An advocate for science learning, he said: “Pioneering science and research are critical to the success and safety of my expeditions. Whether it’s using state-of-the-art facilities and working with scientific experts in order to push the boundaries of human performance or developing bespoke gear capable of operating in hostile environments.”

As part of the partnership, Richard will front the charity’s new individual giving fundraising campaign, as it embarks on a mission to generate over £5m to radically transform its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay into a contemporary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) hub.

This next evolution of Techniquest – dubbed The Science Capital – will not only encompass an extension of its current building on Stuart Street, but a repositioning exercise to extend and diversify its audiences.

As part of this journey, the individual giving campaign aims to generate public interest and increased public support for its ambitious plans.

He added: “I’m delighted to be partnering with Techniquest at this exciting time as it embarks on its Science Capital project and launches its new individual giving campaign.

“I have many fond memories getting lost in the wonder of Techniquest growing up on school visits and also even more recently as a grown up! Living just a stone’s throw away, I’m proud to be working with such a pioneering organisation serving both Wales and my community here in Cardiff Bay.”

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “The latest science innovation underpins Richard’s expeditions, so he understands the importance of our work and it’s obvious he shares our passion to inspire and empower young and older through science.

“We have ambitious plans to expand our science discovery centre and diversify our audience base through our new project – The Science Capital.

“Techniquest is known as a great venue for school trips and a place to take young children, but we want to be known as a great venue, no matter what your age. Our plans will see us extend our offering, making science accessible to all and inspiring the public to think differently about STEM.

“In supporting Techniquest through individual giving, the public will have a stake in our exciting new adventure, while also ensuring that our important work within the STEM sector in Wales continues for future generations.

“We’re excited and proud to be working with Richard to diversify our audience and income streams ensuring that Techniquest becomes self-sustainable in the future.”

There are two ways in which the public can lend their support to Techniquest’s individual giving campaign – through leaving a gift in a will or by providing a small regular donation to its Friends of Techniquest initiative.

The individual giving campaign is also supported by development consultancy, Lee Wakemans. Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said, “We are proud to be supporting Techniquest’s Individual Giving Campaign as lead sponsor, and embarking on another exciting campaign together.

“Techniquest is at such a pivotal stage in its development, and we are thrilled to be a part of it. There’s a fantastic synergy between Richard Parks and Techniquest, and I think their partnership will help highlight the spirit of adventure that can be found in many scientific endeavours.”