Arctic snow looms for CHAS trekkers

CHAS volunteers in training for their fundraising mission
CHAS volunteers in training for their fundraising mission
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A GROUP of plucky Scots including a team from Edinburgh are to brave the frozen home of Santa Claus as part of a fundraising mission to help Scotland’s only dedicated children’s hospice charity.

They will jet off to northern Finland on February 1 to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime challenge trekking the Arctic Circle to raise funds for CHAS – Children’s Hospices Across Scotland.

The three-day hike will see them pulling all their equipment in pulks, battling the elements and snow, facing down temperatures which could be as low as -30C, and sleeping in tents.

Scott Maxwell, Outdoor Events Coordinator for CHAS and one of the trekkers, says the team have no doubts about what awaits them, having taken the recent cold snap as a great excuse to get in some added winter training before they head off.

Scott said: “When all the walking brings aches and pains, and when the sub-zero temperatures really start to nip, we will just think of the many smiles and special memories that CHAS will be able to create thanks to the fundraising efforts of this amazing team.

“Each week in Scotland, three children will die because they have a life-shortening condition. Today, only one of those families receive the help and support they deserve. CHAS will not stop until we can reach every family who needs us.”

With funds still coming in, the team have so far raised over £13,000 that will go directly to CHAS.

Among those from Edinburgh taking part are Olivia Donaldson, Sarah Ivory, Simon Cook, Euan Marshall, Angharad Low, Jack Low and Dave Anderson.

The team also includes Andy Linn from Dundee, Glasgow-based Scott Maxwell, Kevin Henderson from Fife and Hamilton resident Michelle Henderson. The group, who hadn’t met each other until a training day last year, are motivated knowing fundraising will help families when they it help most.

Scott said: “After three flights to get to Rovaniemi, the official home town of Santa Claus, the team will have a day to acclimatise on the frozen river. “This is important as temperatures can drop as low as -30C and takes a little getting used to. The next day will see Team CHAS begin their three day challenge, walking around 28kms west across frozen rivers and rolling hills. A reward for the hard work on the first day is the best chance to experience the wondrous Northern Lights.

“The second day is a 20km stretch of glorious white wilderness, experiencing more hills and entering snow covered forests. The third day is a trek of the final 18km, by which time our lungs will be clear and we can celebrate this amazing achievement both personally, as a team and for CHAS.”

To donate, text FINL18 with your amount to 70070.