Top celebrity surprises Harrrogate WI and Bettys!

Ben Fogle was an unexpected special guest of Spa Sweethearts WI in Harrogate.Here he is pictured with WI president Amy Ball.
Ben Fogle was an unexpected special guest of Spa Sweethearts WI in Harrogate.Here he is pictured with WI president Amy Ball.

Charming Ben Fogle was an unexpected special guest at a Harrogate group’s meeting.

The famous TV presenter and adventurer, who originally found fame on BBC TV’s Castaway, called in on Spa Sweethearts WI last week to meet the group and find out how a WI meeting runs.

Ben Fogle tries out being a waiter at Harrogate's Bettys tearooms with Bettys real-life waitress Gemma Whyman and waiter Jack Balsdon.

Ben Fogle tries out being a waiter at Harrogate's Bettys tearooms with Bettys real-life waitress Gemma Whyman and waiter Jack Balsdon.

He was doing a bit of late research for his new book, English, which will be published later this year, making the visit just four days before it was due to be delivered to the publisher.

While at the meeting, the hugely popular 43-year-old asked the WI members for their views on what it is to be English.

Ben also brought his black labrador, Storm, to the meeting, and listened to the planned talk by The Harrogate Girl, also known as Victoria Taylor, who was telling the group how she set up her blog.

Spa Sweethearts president Amy Ball said: “It was fantastic to have Ben with us for our meeting. We were really pleased to hear about his new book, and to contribute to his research.

“It was great that he also took the time to answer our questions and tell us a bit about his incredible career. It made for one of our most fascinating meetings – I’m sure our members will never forget it!”

Ben, in turn, seemed to have impressed by this young, go-ahead Harrogate WI group, tweeting:

“Thank you to the @SpaSweethearts @WomensInstitute for hosting Storm and I tonight and sharing some thoughts on #englishness.”

Author, broadcaster and writer Ben is best known for his presenting roles with Channel 5, BBC and ITV.

Having already hosted the likes of Crufts, One Man and His Dog, Countryfile and more on TV, readers might have seen him recently on Channel 5 in Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild.

During Ben’s visit to Harrogate, he also dropped in at Bettys tearooms in the centre of Harrogate as part of his research on ‘Englishness.

And he took the chance at Bettys to refresh his skills at waiting tables during its Lady Betty Afternoon.

Spa Sweethearts WI, which was founded in 2011 and has around 100 members, is one of the so-called ‘new wave’ WIs.