Wednesday 23 October 2019

Richard Hammond on being ‘extremely lucky’ to be alive and enjoying his job

The Grand Tour presenter reflected on the ‘turning points’ in his life as he served soup at a homeless hostel during a charity event in London.

Richard Hammond has said he is lucky to have the career that he does. (Ian West/PA)
Richard Hammond has said he is lucky to have the career that he does. (Ian West/PA)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Richard Hammond says he is “ridiculously lucky” to have his career and health.

The presenter was airlifted to hospital after flipping in a dragster in 2006 and escaped from a crashed car in Switzerland last year moments before the vehicle burst into flames.

Hammond said those moments could have been “turning points” and he is fortunate to be alive and have the job he does after being “slung” out of sixth form.

The Grand Tour presenter reflected on the watershed moments in his life while considering the plight of those living on the streets of the UK.

Serving soup at the Centrepoint homeless hostel in London, Hammond said: “I have been extremely lucky. It just takes one little thing.

“You don’t realise until afterwards that it was actually going to turn out to be something huge.

“That could have been a turning point. That could have gone the other way.”

He added: “I was slung out of sixth form and had a free year of doing pretty much nothing. I walked my dog a lot.

“I am ridiculously lucky with my career, being able to tour the world with The Grand Tour and talk about people’s cars.

“I think everyone has those turning points. Whether it’s getting your first break at work or meeting your partner for the first time.”

Hammond said it is important to provide a positive turning point for young people sleeping on the streets of the UK.

Richard Hammond at serves up soup for the charity (Centrepoint/PA)

The 48-year-old admitted he walks past the destitute sleeping rough in the capital.

Hammond said: “With walking past, I think it’s about talking to people. It’s recognising that they are people, they have their own opinions and ideas.

“They will be welcomed back into society. There is nobody out there who wants to keep people on the streets.”

The former Top gear presenter said he first met young people involved with Centrepoint at a polo game and said their stories were more compelling than the match.

He supports the charity’s work to give basic life skills to young people to steer them away from life on the streets.

Hammond joined forces with Centrepoint to help kick off their Big Broth event, taking place across the country on November 2.

The charity hopes to inspire the nation to host their own “Soupathons”, serving soup at work, at home or in their communities, to help raise money for homeless young people.

PA Media

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