Friday, 31 December 2010

Annie Woodford - Ice Queen

Annie's work has struck a chord with me and her obsession with frozen environments and the nature of ice brings another dimension to the forthcoming trip.

Her book, Tracing the Line of Existence was one of my most treasured Christmas presents, reminding me of the ability ice has to encapsulate time. Sledding across lakes and landscapes which hold untold stories had a deep impact on me in February but only retrospectively as my body and mind were too engaged in concentrating on the task in hand; staying warm and upright. Next year I hope to be able to open my mind to the landscape, whilst staying upright.

A quote in Annie's book, from Stephen J. Pyne's The Ice is wonderfully profound, he refers to ice as "..a white warp in space and time". Her website is really worth a visit:

and she will be exhibiting as part of Collect at the Saatchi Gallery in May 2011

Collect 2011

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Our Christmas card

is here:

Oh what a night...

late December and all that, but this year it's particularly magical as we experience the lowest temperatures in the UK for many Christmases and today, the winter solstice, also brought a Lunar Eclipse: The BBC has some great shots here .

I celebrated by getting my Father's old telescope out of storage and finally getting it working.

The cloud cover was too dense at the actual moment of the eclipse but the sky was pretty spectacular over the sea as a result.

Rob celebrated by sleeping out in the snow in preparation for Arctic nights to come.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sponsorship link

Toasty warm

I shall now be verywarmclaire whist feeding the dogs on our trip as I had a birthday yesterday and my Mother-in-law gave me the best gloves ever! They are windproof, waterproof and have huge cuffs, which tie up over your out layers. I now need the weather to get cold here again so that I can wear them in as they are rather stiff.

Mertz gave me some sheepskin boots too, so my extremities are well catered for.

The weather really has warmed up though and this morning I was able to swim in the sea again, although I didn't stay in long as the tide was so far out that it was hard to get under. A great way to start a new year though.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Pasta Power

The Lovely people at Pasta Foods have offered to provide us with the right kind of nutrition to keep us going in the Arctic in the form of a case of pasta! We are looking forward to Rob and Andy's pasta power recipes...coming soon?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Only 136 days to go!

Snow and a swim in the sea:
First onto the beach this morning (apart from the dogs)

Getting out was quicker than getting in

Then the sun came out - I wish we had the keys to the beach hut and had a fire lit.


Or if you are local, buy some kindling from our stall, only 50 a bundle!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The detail

This is a direct copy and paste from an email from Gaynor to explain how she ended up with a fractured knee:

Milos has been training 16 dogs for his race (La Grande Odyssee – in January and has had to be doing two sessions during the strength training stage which involves a lot of weight and brake pressure to make them pull for long periods.  He started out with a quad bike which was manageable as you have the mechanical power and weight of the bike to slow them down, however, since the snow came and winter temps have dropped to –20 and –30 he’s had to take the sled out with all 16 dogs. It’s pretty impossible as you can’t get enough weight on the sled to slow them down so although he’s now switched to speed training (intervals of gallop and brake induced trot) he needs help to train two teams at the same time.  I was supposed to be that help!!

First day was fine and although I hadn’t trained in a while, it wasn’t too bad.  The dogs are so strong though as they’ve been training for a month or so already so it was a bit of a baptism of fire.  The second day was going really well, felt great, the dogs were responding to commands and I felt confident, but as I was coming around a corner at quite a speed (normally not a problem as you can kinda ‘skid’ your way round) I saw someone through the trees around the corner and then heard a yelp!  I thought there had been a pile up on the trail where Milos had met someone coming the opposite direction, so like a rookie  my instinct was to brake... Well, I was going too fast, breaking on a corner, and with absolutely no weight in my sled which meant the tiniest imbalance tipped the sled sideways.  

Now you’ll know that that doesn’t necessarily mean you come off but I my left foot got ‘caught’ by ice on the ground which twisted it to the side and I found myself running for a few steps before the 6-dog team took off without me!  I went head first into the snow.  

When I got up I realised Milos had passed the girl coming in the opposite direction and she was ‘parked’ having to hold on to her lead dogs in order for anyone to pass (that’s badly trained dogs for you... I guess they’re not used to dogs coming the other way!).  She said nothing to me and I just looked at her as I passed noticing how she had practically zero control over her dogs just then.  But to be fair, the whole thing was my error, a rookie mistake as I was just getting into the swing of things again, and you have to remember these are race dogs, almost race ready, running about 24kmph so it’s easy to get flung off – there’s no room for error.

Luckily the dogs were fine and that was my first concern.  Losing your team is every mushers worst nightmare!  Luckily Milos saw them coming from behind but didn’t know how to stop them, bearing in mind he had the other 10 dogs on his sled!  But as a testament to how well trained his dogs are, and in slight desperation, he shouted at Falco in lead to “stop!!!”.  Falco looked around at him (they were now infront) and then came to a stop.  That is unbelievable really.  Bless Falco, he likes to play, but this season he’s really proving to be a strong runner and good part of the team! 

As for me, I was hobbling after them as fast as I could with what I thought was a twisted knee.  Getting back on the sled was a really painful experience, and slightly precarious as I was basically sledding on one leg with no use of the brake.  

That night my knee swelled to double it’s usual size and the next day I went to the hospital A&E (quite another story!).  After an MRI scan and some pretty cool xray photo mementos, I was plastered from ankle to thigh and sent home with crutches with a tibial plateau fracture (top of the shin bone fracture that has been plastered to stop it being displaced).  Ooo, and you must mention the crutches... With flip-down studs to stop me slipping in the snow and ice!  I’ll see if I can send you the picture we took on the camera... Most dangerous adventure I’ve ever had? Walking down a snow/ice covered street at minus 30, on crutches!!!!!  ;o)

I see the orthopedic surgeon next week to find out how long I’ll be off my feet.  :o(

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Words of wisdom on the subject of cold...

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." -- Sir Rannulph Fiennes
"And today the most appropriate clothing is a house. With an open fire. And tea" - my friend Steve..

Medical update

Gaynor has broken her knee... this is a disaster! She's one of the most active people I know and she and Milos had just started to prepare for the race season so it couldn't have come at a worse time. She's in plaster from ankle to the top of her leg and there is even a chance that they may need to operate on her knee. The thought of Gaynor sitting around, putting her leg up is one that just doesn't work for me (and I'm sure it doesn't for her either). Thinking of you Lovely...

Oh and I've got a brain, look, proof:

It may not look like much but I'm relieved there is evidence. I've finally been discharged and haven't had to take painkillers for 6 hours, so I'm feeling a bit more positive.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Training set backs

I had such good intentions, having had a week of little physical exertion I'd got a chart ready for this week with distance objectives on the running, new trainers planned for the end of the week when I get paid, and dips in the sea everyday. On Friday we had a wonderful evening at the British Larder, on Saturday Anna took me to see Akram Khan's Vertical Road and then on Sunday I woke up with double vision. I tried to ignore it, thinking it may just have been a result of the strobe lights on Saturday night, but even after pint at lunchtime it didn't get any better and by the evening it was pretty clear that something was wrong with my eye.

Having had some bones taken out of my head a couple of years ago I need to be a bit careful about infections, so on Monday morning I introduced myself to my GP (we'd never met) and he sent me to hospital. No running then... The hospital people were brilliant, and having sent me for CT scans and poked about at my head for a bit they established that the infection wasn't causing a bleed on my brain - which was what they were looking for. 

The specialist was determined to get blood tests to check the infection and when he realised that the blood test people had gone home he rolled up his sleeves and set about me with a needle, it was only when he started tying the elastic strap into a knot (it has a fastener) that I realised he wasn't joking when he said he hadn't taken blood since medical school. He got a real ticking off from the nurse who walked in and found him gloveless and wandering about with a couple of tubes full of my blood with no labels. Still this meant I was allowed home as apparently I was 'far too well to put into a bed'. Poor old Mertz had to drive around for hours as he can't bear hospitals and I didn't get out till about 6.30. 

The swelling continued to get worse even after I'd started on the antibiotics and at about 5am this morning the infection peaked, sending me a bit delirious but at least it was the beginning of the upward journey. Still, no running and I missed Marks' classes as I had to get straight back to the clinic today to make sure it was all subsiding. I'm going to be sensible and rest for another day, I have to go back to the hospital on Thursday for the all clear, then I can start again with my plan: 

Friday: Run 45mins
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: swim in the sea and yoga practice
Monday: Run 45 minutes
Tuesday: Step and Circuits
Wednesday: yoga
Thursday: Run 45 minutes and cycle to Dunwich

Then just as I was leaving hospital this afternoon I got an email from Gaynor, who had also just left hospital! She's been in Sweden for 3 days with Milos, getting ready for race season and she's taken a tumble, rather a nasty one. She came off a sled and she's not absolutely sure what the full extent of the damage is but she's torn a ligament and damaged the cartilage in her knee. She's on crutches so not on a sled... What a nightmare - poooor Gaynor. Thinking of you Lovely, get better soon.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thanks for getting us over the £1000 (including Gift Aid)

Only another £19,000 to go! It's wonderful to know that we have support in our 'totally mad' adventure (according to some neighbours who I just met on my evening dog walk). It can be hard to imagine that we can raise so much, but I remember being so daunted last time I started and look where that ended up. I know we can do it and it's much more fun trying with a group of friends rather than on my own.

I'm waiting to hear if our applications for corporate sponsorship so far have come off and the one I'm most positive about is as even if they decide we are not right for them, I hope they'll at least send us some of their delicious products as I am an addict, and they will be great for the trip.

But so far - HUGE thanks go to:

18.11.10 What an amazing challenge Laura - I really admire (and envy you) for it

15.11.10 From Wendy Longman

15.11.10 Mark's collecting tin

15.11.10 Good luck guys - and don't forget the thermals! Ax


14.09.10 You're going to have to be very creative with the fund-raising ideas. Another fab adventure! Much love from me and Spikey

14.09.10 Personally I'd go to the North Pole and back again to get away from Mertz so it looks like remarkably good value.

11.09.10 Amazing stuff, but isn't it an extreme way of getting away from Mr Merttens??? Good luck and warm hugs!

10.09.10 Sounds like a great adventure! Good luck and have fun! Andrew

10.09.10 Best of luck, sounds good fun

10.09.10 Deep respect to you, the "huts" were a lifeline for me last year, so the thought of being so far off the beaten track is not for me :) Wishing you every success!

24.08.10 First online donation, makes up for me forgetting my £1.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Back to the blog

The last couple of weeks have had a sense of 'one step forward, two steps back' and as a result the East Anglian division of the team has begun to bond. The first week of fundraising and training didn't start well, with Andy having to cancel the activity days as a result of no firm bookings. This was a real disappointment to us all, but particularly to Andy, who had put in so much work - along with Mark's support. They were gutted and we are at a bit of a loss to understand why there was no interest. Perhaps people had already organised their half term activities, or maybe the idea of filling out forms was too much, but they would have been really good, fun days, and not just for the children!

We attempted to make use of the planned time well though, as Rob had come up from Oxford, and so we contacted the Fire service to see if they'd let us have a go at pulling a fire engine, as you do... The idea being that if we could manage it then we could set up a fundraising and PR event, where we attempt to pull an engine through Southwold. I'm so pleased we had a trail run. It is not as easy as I had expected, although I'm not really sure why I expected it to be easy, they weigh about 15 tonnes. The Fire Service were amazing, helping us to find the best way to use harnesses and ropes, but making sure we pulled the machine uphill, not sure that was so helpful!

Mark decided we should let him try to pull it on his own first, just incase he could but it soon became apparent that it wasn't budging. Andy joined him, then Rob and they did get it to move. once we had all of us attached it was just about possible to keep it moving, but certainly not a walk in the park.

Later that day we met up with the Lovely Gaynor (yes, Lovely is her first name) and she talked us through the kit needed and showed us a number of photos from her recce trip with Milos. I was surprised to see how sunny it was and she assured us that the temperatures would probably not be as low as our last trip (-40). There again she had warned us to expect - 25 last time...

Press release issued by EACH

News Release      
Group to endure subzero temperatures for children’s hospice

An intrepid group of fundraisers are hoping an arctic pursuit will raise thousands of pounds to support a local children’s hospice.

Claire Whittenbury, of Walberswick, has organised an arctic challenge which will see her and a group of friends completing a 225 km husky drive across Northern Scandinavia in subzero temperatures which could reach -40 degrees.

Claire, who is a teaching mentor and felt maker, will undertake her challenge with team mates Mark Nussey, of Avondale road, Lowestoft, who is a self- employed Physical Activity Consultant and Andy Deacon, also of Deacon Road, Lowestoft, who is Assistant Partnership Manager for the Lowestoft and Beccles Schools' Sport Partnership.

They will also be joined by Laura Neale from Mill Lane in Great Leighs, Chelmsford, who works at Pets at Home, and Rob Bevan from Didcot.

Claire took part in an Arctic challenge last year with Laura, Rob is one of Claire’s oldest friends, Mark helped Claire train for last year’s adventure and Andy is a friend of Mark. The group hope to raise more than £20,000 for EACH with their efforts.

Claire said: “We wanted to do this challenge for EACH. We feel it's important to challenge ourselves to raise a minimum of £20,000 to help EACH to continue the amazing work they do. Some of us work in schools and children's clubs and our motivation is to do the best we can for children and families who need the kind of care EACH provides.”

The group will travel to Northern Scandinavia in April 2011- where they will each drive a team of six Alaskan huskies across the frozen wastes for a week.

They will camp in tents and ice holes, and hope to reach their northernmost point in fours days, covering around 60 km a day.

Similar challenges are currently being undertaken by celebrities on the ITV programme 71 Degrees North which began airing since September this year.

Viewers will have seen the celebs undertaking tough challenges including dog sledging, ice swimming, ice climbs, snow cave digging and rope holding and will understand the extreme limits the team will endure.

If you would like to know more please contact Claire Whittenbury, or visit the team’s fundraising webpage:

If you have been inspired by this challenge; EACH has a number of fundraising challenges you can take part in including: a London to Paris cycle ride, a Kilimanjaro Trek, a Channel Islands sail and a Peru trek to Machu Picchu. For more information call: 01223 205180.


Notes to Editors
EACH needs to raise £4 million in donations to deliver our services this year. This amounts to £11,000 a day, every day of the year.

We support families and care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

We deliver a range of services that includes: short break care, specialist play activities, music therapy, hydrotherapy, parent groups, sibling groups, care at end of life and bereavement support for all family members.

We provide care and support wherever the family wishes– in the families’ own home, in hospital or at one of our hospices in Ipswich, Milton or Quidenham.

We continue to develop the quality and range of our services to support children and their families. Last year we helped 464 families by delivering 75,000 hours of care and support - an increase of more than 15 per cent on the previous year.

For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds, visit or call 01223 205180/ 01953 715559. Registered charity number 1069284.

For further information about this release please contact:
Lindsey Newton
Press and Media Officer
01223 205183; 07501 432788

Monday, 25 October 2010

Training and fundraising to start this week

This week we are all due to get together to start fundraising with our Children's Activity days and a meeting with Gaynor. It's all very real now and I started the week as I mean to go on with a swim in the North sea, just as the sun was coming up.

This was my view as I walked back from the beach and the rays warmed my slightly battered back (a large wave had caught me unawares as I was coming out of the sea and being distracted by my barking hounds).

I can't wait to get us all together for the first time, despite there being a disappointing number of bookings for the activity day. Maybe Half Term isn't the best time to plan these things. Andy has done sterling work getting it all ready, even training me in the dark art of the Dance Mat - hardly dancing, more like a physical computer game: So I really hope we fill up in the last few days before our first one on Thursday. A local radio station has offered to promote it today, so fingers crossed.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Laura's a celebrity!

A date in the diary

12 - 16 YEAR OLDS
St Felix School - Reydon - Suffolk
12.30 - 4PM
(Weather permitting)
To book call Andy on 07841 435543

Monday, 18 October 2010

More 'giving' probems

The frustrations of not having the Virgin giving site working properly has been really getting to me. I really hope no-one has been put off supporting us...

Dear Claire,

I am sorry to hear that you have experienced problems when accessing the site and understand the frustration that this has caused.

There has been a requirement to undertake maintenance on the site recently which all our Charities were notified of.

In addition, we unfortunately experienced an issue from our card service provider on Friday that impacted donations for an approx 2 hour period. Full service was restored as soon as possible. There is no underlying issue with the site.

I would like to assure you that Virgin Money Giving take comments made by all our site users very seriously in order that we can continue to provide an excellent service and the recent period is not a reflection of our normal service standards.

Once again, please accept my apologies.

Kind regards

Neil Johnson
Head of Customer Services
The Virgin Money Giving Team

Monday, 4 October 2010


I'm in dire need of some motivation, my op has set me back on the running from, and whilst I'm back at the classes with Mark and regularly practicing my yoga, it's the running that really gets the stamina going. To help me get back into the swing of things I am going to employ 2 techniques:
  1. buy new trainers (the old ones are dying and if I get new ones I'll feel guilty if I don't use them
  2. get a mentor
Trainer wise I'm looking for something that can withstand the winter weather and so far these are the winners, but it'll depend on what I can afford.

Columbia – Ravenous Womens Trail Running Shoe

  • A gusseted tongue to keep out unwanted debris
  • 3D Techlite heel system provides conforming fit as well as stabilizing the foot over the midsole for protection on technical terrain
  • Contour Comfort 1D single-density EVA footbed
  • AgION® anti-odour treatment
  • Dual density Techlite moulded midsole
  • Soft lateral foot strike zone to provide greater cushioning in the heel
  • Lower profile geometry provides stability
  • Non-marking Omni-Grip® dual rubber compound that provides traction on wet surfaces as well as loose and soft surfaces
And I have also found myself a mentor, I don't think I'll get away with anything where Milo is concerned

Friday, 24 September 2010

Get a grip

I must, get a grip that is. There I was feeling all pathetic and wondering if could do it and then I read about Wim Hof, who featured in a C4 programme called Ice Man:

In sub zero temperatures 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Dutch Daredevil Wim Hof attempts to run a full 26-mile marathon clad only in shorts and a pair of sandals.
Hof currently holds nine world records for exposure to extreme cold, but this awe inspiring act of endurance surpasses all his previous adventures. Exposing the body to temperatures of -25C for more than four hours is an extraordinary challenge, one which experts fear is beyond the capabilities of human beings.
This film follows Wim's preparations in Amsterdam, which include taking midnight dips in freezing canals and meditating in a meat freezer.
I suppose that's my weekend viewing sorted then.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ice holes

Having watched 71 degrees North this evening I am beginning to have serious doubts about the whole sleeping in ice holes concept. Cosy? Yes, and practical too, but the idea of putting claustrophobic thoughts out of my head has been annihilated by the contestants and judges taking part, who said things like "ice tomb", "buried alive" and "danger of collapse". What am I thinking?! I don't fear the cold, the physical challenge of covering 60K a day, staying on a sled at speed or even my team mates' snoring, but I am terrified of confined spaces. I don't even use the tube for crying out loud. Lifts are a challenge for me.

I really hope the Mark and Steve, our ice hole diggers are good with "all things spadey", which was what Diarmuid Gavin was described as (and then swiftly got voted off). And I also hope that MiloŇ° remembers to pack the spades. Maybe we could build and igloo or even copy some of the Ice Hotel's ideas? Laura and Steve seemed to like the design last time.

I could live in this forever, I don't think I could live in an ice hole for one night.

I don't suppose having cold feet at this stage is allowed...?

Monday, 20 September 2010


It's official, I am better. I have just been for a swim in the sea, and Mark (team member and fitness instructor) has approved my going to my first fitness class tomorrow.

We had a good 'team meeting' yesterday, with entertainment from Milo, Laura's dog, and tapas. Mark, Andy and Laura came over and we Skyped Rob to go through our fundraising targets and events. So far we are planning:

  • A children's activity day with power kiting and dance mat challenges (28th October at St Felix school)
  • Abseiling down Gulliver - the tallest local wind turbine
  • Pulling a fire engine through Southwold
  • Possible further kids activities, including a yoga session.
The East Anglian Arctic Challenge team who are going to raise £20,000 for EACH are:

Mark Nussey: Accommodation adviser and physical endurance expert who will be responsible for digging ice holes, setting up tents and setting our physical goals to prepare us for the trip as well as training us to pull a fire engine.

Andy Deacon: Head Chef, Children's Activity co-ordinator and Freddie Mercury impersonator. Responsible for menu plan, sushi making and providing dance mat instruction to Laura, Rob and I as well as attaching up to 40 children to power kites.
Laura "I'll have a little something in that" Neale: Dog Wrangler
Rob Bevan: Head Chef and designer. Responsible for menu plans and making us look good.

Ooops - I've just noticed that we appear to have 2 head chefs... that should make for an interesting trip.

The rest of the team:

Steve Hubble: Accommodation Supervisor and Entertainment manager, fundraising for his own local hospice. Responsible for Digging ice holes and pitching tents, with special responsibility for digging latrines.

Gaynor Leeper - Voyage Active: The Boss
MiloŇ° Gonda: The "really" Boss (sorry Gaynor)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

71 Degrees North - ITV

Ok, I'm hooked and may have to watch them all now... even if I'm not sure who half of them are. My money is currently on Michelle Mone, who is the only one who I know anything about and seems to have what it takes to deal with the trials of the show: how to get a flattering swimming costume to stay on whilst swimming in frozen fjords, not taking Shane Ritchie seriously, making sure the boys keep the tent tidy and smiling through hyperthermia.

According to ITV's controller, they are in "one of the most alien environments in the world" so how come it's where I feel so at home?

Hopefully we can capitalise on the success of the show to raise the profile of our own challenge to get more funds in for EACH. and funds are coming in again, so hopefully the site is fixed. Thank you Dom for your contribution, you appear to have gone to the Middle East to get away from Mertz, no need to get cold!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

They are all at it...

Vogue, Tatler, ITV, why has the Arctic suddenly become fashionable?!
Somehow I don't think our team will be looking quite as glamourous as this, or indeed the celebs on ITV's 71 Degrees North, who have (apparently) been struggling with their tinted moisturizer freezing. But I may only be speaking for myself, maybe the others have different plans, I know my main fashion statement will be trying to make sure that my long-johns stay up. Not having a telly I can't comment on 71 Degrees, but I'll check it out on the i-player this evening so that I can at least be informed bitchy, rather than just bitchy.

My recovery is going really well and this afternoon I walked to the sea and almost felt human. Hopefully by the middle of the week I'll be allowed to go to yoga (if you are reading this Anna - it is my aim to be able to do a standing up tree, rather than just lying in bed with my hands above my head). The first question my surgeon asked me was "Are you going back to the Arctic next year?" and when I told her that I had every intention of doing so she rubbed her hands and said "Well, I'd better get you better then, hadn't I?" Looks like she's done a pretty good job so far. The only set back so far is my own stupid fault as I put Germaline on the wound last night and I must remember to never, never put Germaline on a nasty wound, even if I am still fuzzy headed. It's gone a bit icky, but nothing too serious. Mertz is determined that I'll be swimming in the sea by the end of the week and that might do the wound more good.

My task for tomorrow is to investigate our fundraising site, I had problems trying to sponsor someone on the same site a couple of weeks ago and I've just had a friend let me know that the site crashed when she was trying to sponsor us today, so I hope it's not going to cause problems. Hopefully people will let me know if it's not letting them donate but there will, no doubt, be some who get put off at the first hurdle, which is very frustrating. All we can do for the moment is apologise and keep an eye on it. There is also a glitch with their widget, which won't let me attach it to this blog, hence the link below.

One of the team members is going to look at getting an outdoor clothing company to provide us with kit and someone who considered joining us may be able to help with military issue First Aid kits, I wonder if Channel fancy sponsoring our trip...

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Our fundraising site is up and running and already I have thanks to give! I'm really grateful to Carolyn, Anthony, 'Uncle' Andrew and Andy for getting the ball rolling, as well as Richard for supporting us from the beginning, even though he won't be able to make it with us as planned.

By donating to EACH donations will be helping to support children and their families with the challenges that having a life-threatening condition can often bring. Services may be provided in the family home, the community or the hospice.

The range of services include...

  • Day care in the family home or hospice, or both
  • Overnight breaks in the hospice
  • Support for parents, siblings, grandparents and others close to the child
  • 24 hour telephone support and advice
  • Therapies - music, physio, occupational and specialist play
  • Family information service
  • End of life care in the family home or the hospice depending on family preference
  • Annual Memory Days and ongoing support for bereaved families 

It feels great to be able to support this valuable charity.

Friday, 10 September 2010

It's official!

As you know last year I undertook a challenge which, thanks to you, led me to raise just under £5,000 for Dog's Trust funds and meant I lived up to the name 'verycoldclaire'. It was a huge adventure and pushed me to my limits, but that's what limits are for isn't it? So, with out further ado I'll explain the next challenge: further, faster, colder.

Now that I know what I'm doing in April 2011 I will be setting off with a hand picked team of like-minded fools to Northern Scandinavia where we will travel further north to start our journey. Each day we'll cover twice the distances, which will mean we need more dogs in each team and as we are further from civilisation there will be no strategically positioned cabins to use overnight. We'll be sleeping in tents or digging ice holes for the human and canine members of the team to shelter in. Our aim is to make it to the northernmost shelter of Per Nils, the Sami Herdsman who I had the pleasure of meeting on my last trip and who featured in this blog.

Whilst this may seem hard enough in itself, our real challenge is to raise £20,000 for EACH, the East Anglian Children's Hospices and to cover the costs in the Arctic (we will be paying all our own personal expenses). EACH supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. They provide care and support in families’ own homes, in hospital or at one of their hospices in Ipswich, Milton and Quidenham. They are a registered charity (no. 1069284) and this year need to raise £4 million in donations to deliver their services. This amounts to £11,000 a day, every day of the year.

As a group we hope you will support us by sponsoring us here: Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit company, so all the money will go direct to EACH. (You can also search for my name.) Please put a note so that I know who is donating - I'd like to thank you individually!

I'll be introducing the team here over the next couple of weeks and asking for input on how we can raise our target, as well as charting my progress on the fitness levels. As I have just had surgery, which has had me laid up for a few days, I'll be starting off gently, but the aim is to be as fit as my team mates by Christmas; so that we can pull a fire engine through the local high street... eek.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010