Waveney trio set for gruelling husky drive in Scandinavia

AN intrepid group of friends is preparing to face the bitter cold of one of the world's harshest environments to raise thousands of pounds for local children's hospices.

Claire Whittenbury, 47, from Walberswick, and her friends Mark Nussey, 42, and Andy Deacon, 31, from Lowestoft, are part of a six-strong group that is taking part in a gruelling six-day husky drive about 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

They are setting out to complete the 140-mile trek in a bid to raise more than �20,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

The group will be completing as much as 40 miles a day, and Ms Whittenbury, who organised the challenge, said: 'There's a risk of cold injury due to the extreme temperatures. There will be no cabins, either – we'll be sleeping in tents, unless it's too windy; then we'll have to use ice holes!'

She added: 'We want to raise at least �20,000 to help EACH. I used to live near the hospice at Quidenham and had friends who worked there, so I'm well aware of the great work they do.

'Most of us work with children too and EACH has to raise �4m in donations each year to deliver its services to support families and care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.'

The trio held a collection at the Anglia Co-operative foodstore in Bungay, on Saturday.

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Fundraising will continue after the team returns from northern Scandinavia and, in the meantime, they are hoping to add to the total with a wine-tasting evening, a fitness day and raffles.

Two members of the team are no strangers to the tough terrain of the Arctic. Ms Whittenbury, a supply teacher, took part in a husky trek last year in aid of The Dogs Trust and Mr Nussey, who is now a physical training consultant, was once based in Norway with the RAF. Ms Whittenbury said: 'The temperatures last year dropped to -42 deg C and it could be colder this time.'

The group flies out to Kiruna, in northern Sweden, on April 10 and, after a day's training, is due to set off on April 11. The group aims to be back in Kiruna on April 18.

l If you want to sponsor Ms Whittenbury, contact her on 07771 912119 or visit the team's fundraising web page: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/eastanglianarcticchallenge

l A charity quiz night takes place in Lowestoft next week in aid of EACH. The annual event – now in its 11th year – is at the Beaconsfield Club, in Surrey Street, on Wednesday (7pm for 7.30pm start), and teams of up to six can enter. Tickets are �7 per person, including refreshments, from Emma on 01502 586927 or Helen on 01502 563455.

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