An ‘eccentric explorer’ has helped make history with a successful expedition to the North Pole and so far raised £10,000 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice’s new home.
Paul Mansell, who lives in Southbourne, has returned home and was aiming to raise £7,500 for St Wilfrid’s Dreambuilding appeal and Cancer Research.
Speaking to the Observer before his huge trek, Paul said at the age of 56 many thought he was ‘deluded’ for taking on such a challenge
He took on the role of deputy-leader for a team helping two-time cancer survivor Sean Swarner achieve his goal.
Sean, who only has one lung, is attempting to become the first cancer survivor in history to complete the ‘Explorer’s Grand Slam’.
That involves reaching the summit of the tallest mountains in each of the seven continents, as well as the North and South Pole.
On April 1, the team landed on the ice of the arctic to begin their expedition.
For inspiration, Sean had a flag with him, made up of approximately 2,000 names of people affected by cancer.
The team skied through the arctic in temperatures on an average 20 degrees lower than at the same time last year.
On day three, their doctor, Camilla, had to be airlifted out due to frostbite and across the other four teams in the polar region at that time there were six further casualty evacuations.
Ateam just 4km behind Paul’s was even attacked by a Polar Bear - highlighting the variety of risks of undertaking such an expedition. Importantly, the ice was good and progress for the team was fast.
They reached the North Pole on April 10 – four days earlier than expected – helping Sean to complete his challenge and make history.
A spokesman for St Wilfrid’s Hospice said: “The journey was truly awe inspiring and a huge test of both endurance and mental strength.
“The team came home safely on the April 15 and would like to say thank you to all their supporters for their encouragement and generosity towards the success of the expedition to the North Pole.
“Paul’s total currently sits at £11,010 and he intends to donate £10,000 of this to Dreambuilding – St Wilfrid’s appeal to build it’s home in Bosham.
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