Pole star Roger goes south to help charity
INTREPID businessmen went more than the extra mile to raise cash for The Christie – by trekking to the South Pole.
Roger Wood, 57, founder of pet food firm MPM Products in Macclesfield, was joined by two friends Graeme Shankland and Ian Langley on the epic trek through Antarctica.
They were raising funds for specialist cancer hospital The Christie, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and Kidneys For Life.
Roger’s wife Gina was a kidney transplant recipient and was treated at The Christie before she died of cancer in 2015.
The trio hauled their own equipment sleds and camped each night on the Antarctic plateau in temperatures that dipped to nearly -40 degrees centigrade.
The whole trip took place in 24-hour daylight and the team reached the South Pole marker after 10 days.
In preparing for the challenge, which took place in January, the trio endured a five-day training camp in arctic Norway, during which they were taught to erect tents in freezing conditions and cross-country ski while hauling equipment on sleds.
Even the journey to the start was tough and involved a flight to Punta Arenas in Chile, a sovietera cargo jet to the Union Glacier base in Antarctica, and a 1943 DC3 Basler ski plane flight to 89 Degrees south.
From there the 111km cross country ski to the South Pole reached altitudes of up to 10,000ft – a third of the height of Mount Everest.
Roger said: “The most remarkable part of the trek was the vidual aspect. All you can see if horizon. There is just snow and sky. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve been there.
“It’s also mentally taxing. Because it is so cold you are wrapped up completely and cannot speak to anyone while you walk. That leaves you alone with your thoughts until you stop for the night.”
The team surpassed their £25,000 fundraising target but are keen to keep adding to the today via h t t p : / / uk. virginmoneygiving. com/IanRoger.
Roger said: “The charities are both close to my heart. Kidneys For Life and Christie because of the help they gave Gina during her transplant then the cancer 10 years later, and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund because my father was in Bomber Command and passed away in 2015. I did it in memory of them both.”
Roger Wood (inset) after reaching the South Pole