6th March 2012
MEA staff set for Husky Challenge
Two Manx Electricity Authority staff are preparing to embark on an incredible sledding adventure across the Arctic Circle.
HR Administrator Helen Callow and IT Technician Rod Kaye will head north later this month to travel across the Arctic with a team of huskies as part of a charity challenge with The Children’s Centre.
The trek will see them cover 250km in six days, crossing from Tromso in Norway into Sweden, through the rolling highlands and deep forests of Lapland, to finish at the famous Ice Hotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi. Helen and Rod, who have funded the trip themselves, will be part of a 10-strong contingent from the Island, with each member driving a team of four or five huskies.
Helen, 33, has worked for the MEA for eight years. She said: ‘I love huskies and I wanted to raise money for The Children’s Centre. Travelling across the Arctic with my own team of huskies is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait to get out there and do it. It’s going to be both physically and mentally challenging and will be a huge achievement when we finish.
‘Rodney and I pledged to raise £1,000 each for The Children’s Centre and we’ve both achieved that target – I raised the money by reaching Ballaugh in last year’s Parish Walk, and baking cakes for colleagues to eat... but only after they’d paid for them!’
Rodney has clocked up nearly 20 years with the MEA. ‘At 52 I’m looking at this as being one of my “Bucket List” challenges,’ said Rod. ‘I’ve always enjoyed winter sports and dog sledding was something I always fancied having a go at. ‘When I saw that The Children’s Centre was arranging this trip it seemed perfect. It won’t be easy; we are expected to learn to drive our own sled and look after the welfare of our team of dogs. We’ll be camping out in -25 to -30 degrees C temperatures, raising camp and feeding ourselves once we have attended to the dogs. But there is the added bonus of the best show of the Northern Lights for fifty years.’
Rod explained: ‘Helen and I know that by supporting The Children’s Centre we are supporting a local charity and that the money stays in the Island. The Children’s Centre provides a number of services to children and families in the Island and deserves all the support and exposure it can get. We must say a big thank you to our colleagues at the MEA – mostly for the incredible consumption of food!’
If anyone would like to sponsor Helen and Rod to help further boost their fundraising total, they can contacted via email - firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com – or by calling the main MEA number 687687.
Children’s Centre Fundraising Coordinator Mark Eastham explained: ‘On arrival at Tromso, the team will spend the first day training, getting to know the dogs and getting used to putting their tents up. On day two, the challenge will start and they’ll be sledding for six days.
‘We’ve been practising in recent months with some huskies owned by a friend of mine, but the huskies on the trip will be supplied by a company which specialises in this kind of adventure. This is no ordinary charity challenge - be assured, this is a true "hands on" wilderness challenge!
‘In total, the trip should raise in excess of £15,000 for The Children’s Centre, which is fantastic for the charity. This is our fourth year of offering exciting overseas adventures. Our first was a climb up Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Borneo. We’ve also organised trips to Peru for the Inca Trail and the Great Wall of China. These are great challenges for people to get involved with – they get to visit an amazing destination and The Children’s Centre benefits too. These trips have so far raised more than £100,000 for our charitable projects Mobex, Out2Play, Philip Christian Centre and the Child Contact Centre.’