Leeds’ premier shopping destination, VQ is sponsoring intrepid adventurer Geoff Major in his attempt to raise £100,000 for local charities by trekking to the North Pole.
Geoff will celebrate his 50th birthday with what is arguably the challenge of a lifetime and will follow in the footsteps of legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, one of a small elite to reach the North Pole on foot.
Geoff, the founder of the BlueDucks consultancy, cycled hundreds of miles across Cuba for another charity challenge in 2010, but admits he’ll have his work cut out achieving the levels of fitness that will be needed to endure the arduous trek to the Pole.
“Cuba was a fantastic experience which really inspired me to do something much more challenging,” he commented.” I decided to try to combine as much fundraising as I could because I’m unlikely to have the time to do anything else on such a big scale. I don’t know how to ski at the moment let alone also pull a sled of supplies, but I’ll give it my best shot!”
To help ready himself for the challenge, Geoff has already enlisted the help of a personal trainer to get him super fit in time for April when he’s scheduled to begin the trek. In October last year he underwent survival training on Dartmoor and in March this year he’s spending a week in Norway to further acclimatise to the harsh conditions he’ll face at the North Pole.
In between times, he’s dragging two car tyres around his local park to get used to the weight if his sled.
And he’ll need to draw on all his reserves. The sea ice at the Pole is uneven and unpredictable and temperatures can plummet to a bone-numbing -350C. Geoff hopes to complete the trek in 9 days and nights, averaging 9 miles a day.
The event is organised by Charity Challenge, which works with major organisations including Comic Relief. Its Managing Director, Simon Albert said, “It’s difficult to explain just how hard this challenge will be for Geoff. The risks include frostbite, polar bears, thin ice and temperatures of between -100C and -350C.”
Victoria Quarter is one of a number of local companies supporting the challenge. VQ Centre Director, John Bade commented, “This is a hugely impressive challenge, even more so given that Geoff will be 50 at the time. With Geoff coming from Leeds it makes our support all the more appropriate. I wish him every success with the trek and hope he achieves the twin goals of reaching the Pole and raising his target sum of £100,000.”
Yorkshire-based charities to benefit from the expedition will include MacMillan Cancer Care, Help for Heroes, The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Yorkshire Cancer Research and The Samaritans.
Geoff is still looking for donations and sponsors and for £50 companies get their logo on the flag which he will raise at the Pole. The flag will then be given to one of the companies featured as a memento of the trek. For further information and donations visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/GeoffMajorNational and www.northpoletrek.co.uk