Jan 4 2012 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
COATBRIDGE man George Park is preparing for the adventure of a lifetime – dog-sledding across Scandinavia.
He will spend a week driving a team of six huskies from the Norwegian town of Tromso to Jukkasjarvi in Sweden to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Not only will he be facing the challenge of the 200-mile trek and camping in temperatures as low as minus 30, but he will be responsible for looking after his canine helpers – despite never having owned a dog.
George said: “It will take six days and nights, and it’s not just sledding but also feeding and preparing the huskies and camping out, so it will be a big challenge.
“I’ve never done anything like it before and I won’t meet the other people who’re taking part until I get to the airport to head out there.
“That’s all part of the challenge – you learn everything ‘on the job’, and the thing I’m looking forward to most is working in a team, as well as seeing Norway and Sweden.
“Our starting point at Tromso looks absolutely stunning, and we’ll get to visit the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden at the end.
“I’m drawn to cold places so I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve been doing a lot of training, including walks carrying a big backpack and even taking the train out to Clydebank and walking home.”
George, who works for the Blood Transfusion Service, has to raise almost £4000 in sponsorship for his arctic adventure, which begins on March 31.
He is already almost halfway towards his total, thanks in part to a fundraising event at the Georgian Hotel at which he was sponsored to have his legs waxed.
The Barrowfield Street resident said: “We had a quiz, raffles, tombola and games and raised £936; the hotel kindly donated the use of the function suite.
“I raised £340 of that by having my legs waxed; my colleagues were queuing up to be the people to be responsible for doing it!
“My wife Rachel, family and friends all think it’s a fantastic challenge and have been very generous in sponsoring me, and I’ve also had donations from Patersons of Greenoakhill and Tunnocks.
“I’ve also been given a signed Airdrie United shirt and ball, and a medium black leather biker jacket worth £200 from Cherry Pie in Hamilton and would welcome offers for these.
“Multiple Sclerosis affects around 85,000 people of every age but I feel it’s a condition that isn’t spoken about much, so I wanted to help raise awareness.”
George’s online fundraising page can be found at http://beatms.mssociety.org.uk/netcommunity/georgeparkfundraising, and bids for the jacket and signed Airdrie items can be made by contacting 07887 700008.