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Go Back March 12, 2020

Meet the 16-strong team who are taking on the arctic circle to raise £100k for the Dougie Mac.

A group of 16 have set off on a gruelling trek across the Arctic Circle as part KMF’s Arctic Trek bid to raise £100K for The Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

The 16-strong team have volunteered to take on an extreme telemark challenge via the Kungsleden - or the Kings Trail - in the Swedish arctic circle, which will see them ski 116km in four-and-a-half days in temperatures of between minus five and minus 20 degrees. Why? We asked them.

The team includes:

Gareth Higgins MBE, KMF Group:

"This will be a physically and mentally difficult challenge, but our aim is to raise £100,000 for 100km. So far, we have raised around £75,000 and we just need to give it a last push to raise the remaining £25,000.

"The more people that know about the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, the greater their impact. So please spread the word!"

Emma Greenwood, The Hanley Economic:

"I ran the London Marathon with Terry (another Trek participant from KMF) in 2018 in aid of the Dougie Mac and we just stayed in touch ever since. He sent me some information about the challenge last year and I just thought how I could not get involved in something so huge that will raise so much money.

"We started our training in October, we've done lots of long walks with our backpacks on to get used to the weight and that has been a bit of a shock to be honest. There's been a lot of sore muscles - muscles I didn't even know existed."

She added: "This is the biggest challenge I have ever done, and it will be hard having to get up and do it every day, but I'm looking forward to the big group effort and to the beers at the end!"

Rod & Mitch Brown, Brown Recycling:

Rod Brown: "I am really looking forward to it and we have had lots of support so far but I am dreading the unpredictable weather and the constant fatigue that will come with it."

Mitch Brown: "I have competed in two previous expeditions with KMF and when I heard about this one I decided to throw my hat in the ring.

"The Dougie Mac is a great cause and it's close to many people's hearts in North Staffordshire, everybody has got a story to tell about the Dougie Mac, so this is our way of giving something back to them for all of the amazing work that they do."

Chris Gardener, Arqiva:

“I am joining this trek as I feel that the Douglas Macmillan is a great cause and that my time in order to help in raising the profile of such is a small price to pay. The fortunate in society don’t fully understand the hardships (Emotional, Psychological, Physical) the unfortunate face on a daily basis and therefore anything I can do to help raise the awareness is insignificant. I almost feel compelled to get involved. Notwithstanding I also stand to lose a little bit of weight and for a middle aging man that can’t be a bad thing!”

Peter McCartney, Citadel Chambers :

“I undertook the challenge in support of a most fantastic charity whose wonderful staff looked after with great compassion and love both my parents....and because, at 61 years of age, I needed the cobwebs blown off by an Arctic wind. “

Simon Woodings, Argus Fire:

"I have seen the good work done by the Dougie Mac at first hand and have been a supporter over the years, completing their fund-raising bike ride on several occasions. This year I thought I’d do something a little different."

"Gareth Higgins put forward this challenge to me; I’m looking forward to the physical and mental aspect along with the camaraderie within the group. I’m sure it’s going to be tough but there’s always someone having a tougher day and I will be keeping that in mind."

The team will have no access to any form of verbal or electronic communication for up to five days and will carry their own 15kg kits for the trek which will take them to the Kebenekaise Mountain station - the highest peak in Sweden.

The participants - who will will cover up to 30km a day on cross country skis - will also be sleeping in huts in the wilderness, burning wood to keep warm and melting snow for water to drink and cook with.

Other participants include Terry Stanway and Steve Gardener from KMF, Andy Whitehouse and Jamie Probyn from Molson Coors, Gareth Mobley of My Clever Group, Simon Woodings from Argus Fire, Mark Bromley from Lichfield Reynolds, Chris Clowes from Costa Coffee and Jamie Hodgetts, who works for Keir Highways.

Please support this tremendous effort and donate, no matter how small: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/trekthearctic