Intrepid Cheshire businessman Ian Langley went more than the extra mile to raise cash for The Christie – he trekked to the South Pole.
Chairman of global energy industry workforce provider Airswift, Ian, 54, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was joined by Roger Wood, 57, founder of pet food firm MPM Products in Macclesfield, and fellow businessman Graeme Shankland on the epic trek through Antarctica.
They were raising funds for Manchester’s specialist cancer hospital The Christie, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and Kidneys For Life. Roger’s late wife was a kidney transplant recipient and was treated at The Christie.
Ian said: “I wanted to do this for The Christie as I knew Roger’s wife and I also had another friend who was treated there. It was also a final realisation of a financial target made by Airswift Manchester back in 2015, when the Christie was our adopted charity for the year.”
To prepare for the challenge, the trio endured a five-day training camp in artic Norway, during which they were taught to erect tents in freezing conditions and cross-country ski while hauling equipment on sleds.
The team left Britain the day before New Year’s Eve and travelled to Punta Arenas in Chile. A soviet era cargo jet then transported them to the Union Glacier base in Antartica. From there they flew by a 1943 DC3 Basler ski plane to 89 Degrees south before beginning their 111km cross country ski to the South Pole at altitudes of up to 10,000ft (3,048m) – a third of the height of Mount Everest.
They hauled their own equipment sleds and camped each night on the Antarctic plateau in temperatures that dipped to nearly -40 degrees centigrade. At this temperature, frostbite can set in in around two minutes.
The whole trip took place in 24-hour daylight and the team reached the South Pole marker after 10 days on January 11.
“It was very hard going,” said Ian. “There are few physical features, the eye can see in any direction on the Antarctic plateau and because of this the sense of isolation is a little scary. It was also hard to sleep because of the bright sunlight, it was not very comfortable, but the team spirit carried us through.
“When we reached the geographical South Pole it was a little emotional. I thought how it must have been in Scott and Shackleton’s day and how hard they had it.”
The team has surpassed their £25,000 initial fundraising target but anyone wishing to support the trio can still donate at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/IanRoger
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust through its fundraising activities, and delivers projects, equipment and improvements that are over and above what the NHS funds. The charity has more than 43,000 supporters who helped raise £15.9m last year.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. It commended the Trust not only for its effectiveness and care, but highlighted its work in shaping the future of cancer care and noted the reach and influence of its clinical research projects.