Laden with sledges and rucksacks, a group of staff from Great Shelford-based charity Alzheimer’s Research UK made a chilly trek to the Polar Museum in Cambridge today, Friday 7 December. The four mile escapade was arranged to show solidarity with Iceland Foods Chief Executive, Malcolm Walker, who attempted to reach the South Pole to raise money for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
The journey to the South Pole started on 19 November. After two weeks of hostile, frozen conditions, with temperatures dipping to minus 45 degrees Celsius, the Iceland boss was forced to leave the 140 mile expedition, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is Iceland’s Charity of the Year for 2011/12. The company raised £1.2million for research into early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2011. For 2012 Iceland has pledged to raise a further £1million to support groundbreaking research into the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Staff from Iceland’s stores across the country have been holding numerous fundraising events, from coastal walks to lorry pulls, along with their inspiring Chief Executive, Malcolm Walker.
Malcolm Walker is no stranger to daring expeditions. In 2011 he initiated Iceland Foods’ fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK with an amazing Everest Climb. World renowned explorer David Hempleman-Adams led that expedition as well as Malcolm’s 2012 trek to the South Pole. The South Pole team also includes Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent and three injured servicemen from the Royal Dragoon Guards, Corporal Robbie Harmer, Lance Corporal Nick Webb and Captain Adam Crookshank.
The remaining intrepid South Pole explorers are continuing the expedition, dragging sleds filled with food and equipment on their long journey across the ice, just as Captain Scott and his team did 100 years ago. The three soldiers taking part are from the same regiment as Captain Lawrence Oates who famously left the tent on the ill-fated trek. Funds raised from this expedition will be split between Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking with the Wounded. They aim to reach their destination on Saturday 8 December.
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We are incredibly proud of Malcolm Walker for attempting – quite literally – to go to the end of the earth to help us defeat Alzheimer’s disease. We hope he makes a full recovery very soon and just want to see him home safe and well. Our trek to the Polar Museum in Cambridge, with its history of man’s attempts to explore the Arctic and Antarctic, was our way of showing our support and appreciation for his amazing efforts to reach the South Pole.
“It’s wonderful to know that all the staff at Iceland Foods are pulling together to raise money for our pioneering research. All the funds Iceland raise for Alzheimer’s Research UK this year will support one of our most ambitious projects to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages. If we can spot Alzheimer’s early we may be able to unlock our ability to treat it before the damage is done.
“Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, which affects over 820,000 people across the UK today, including over 6,000 people in Cambridgeshire. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia pose one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags far behind other serious diseases. Support from businesses like Iceland Foods plays a key part in helping us progress with our vital research.”
Anyone wishing to add to Malcolm Walker’s fundraising efforts to help defeat dementia can make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/mcwalker or call the fundraising team at Alzheimer’s Research UK on 01223 843899.
This material has been published with the kind permission of Alzheimer Research UK.
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