British charity worker wins 'world's best job'
A Briton named Wednesday to look after a tropical island off Australia said Wednesday he wanted to continue his charity work, inspired by a friend who died in the Asian tsunami of 2004.
Ben Southall, 34, said he was pinching himself after being named caretaker of Hamilton Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, beating more than 34,000 applicants for the coveted postion.
"I really didn't think I stood a chance, to be honest," he told AFP after being selected from 16 finalists from around the world.
"There were some great people there and I was very, very surprised when my name was called out at the end."
Southall will spend six months swimming, snorkelling and sailing around the tropical paradise, earning 74,021 pounds for blogging about his experiences and promoting the region to the world.
Southall, who dived into a freezing British lake in his video application for the job, said it also involved hard work generating promotional ideas, and he remained committed to charity work.
"I've done lots of work for charity, I'd like to continue that," he said.
"One of the charities I reguarly raise money for is Char's Fund, which is a tiny little one that was set up after a very good friend of mine died in the Asian tsunami."
Char's Fund is a memorial to Charlotte Jones, a 23-year-old who died on the Thai island of Ko Racha Yai in the December 26, 2004 tsunami which killed more than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean, mostly in Indonesia.
Southall said he raised money for it with an annual music festival called Onionfest. "Now I'd like to benefit causes in Australia as well and try to get some charity work going here," he added.
After snaring the so-called "best job in the world," Southall laughed as he recounted his worst job, as a teenager in Hampshire.
"When I was 13 to 15 years old I worked as a fishmonger," he said.
"I used to go there before school every day and set up a fish display and in the evenings come take it down. I had to take a shower before school.
"Some people say working with fish is a bad idea, but now I've got a job where I can work with fish -- the live ones, not the dead ones -- it's quite a contrast."
He said the selection process on Hamilton Island , when the finalists were put through their paces while a selection panel and media watched their every move, was "surreal."
But he said he remained relaxed and was happy to have won a free ticket to Australia -- a land he has never previously visited -- just by making the last 16.
He added: "There were some very forthright people who presented themselves to the media in a brilliant way and I'm trying to learn that now.
"This is a new world for me."
He called his loved ones immediately after the news was announced, with his parents popping early morning champagne in Britain and girlfriend Bre jumping for joy in Canada.
"She's doing cartwheels at the opportunity to come out here and join me," said Southall, who will live in a luxury three-bedroom beach house on Hamilton Island.
"I want to set myself challenges, learn to sail properly, get out there and get my next PADI (diving certification)," he said.
"Ultimately, it's about drawing as many people as I can to these great areas of Queensland."
: Source from msn.com