Iceland boss embarks on Antarctic quest

MALCOLM Walker, chairman and chief executive of Iceland Foods has embarked on another epic charity quest.

The 66-year-old is taking part in a gruelling 140 mile unsupported trek
across the Antarctic ice cap to the Geographic South Pole, to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded.

Called ‘In The Footsteps of Legends’ the expedition commemorates the centenary of Scott’s failed British Antarctic Expedition, and particularly the self-sacrifice of Captain Lawrence Oates.

Participants in the 2012 expedition include three soldiers who were all wounded on active service in Afghanistan but have now returned to duty with Oates’s old regiment, the Royal Dragoon Guards. Other participants in the Expedition include the four times Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent.

Led by David Hempleman-Adams and Justin Packshaw, who were both
members of the summit party on the successful Iceland Everest Expedition of 2011, the team will fly to the Union Glacier Camp at 88 degrees South, and ski from there the 140 miles to the Geographic South Pole.

Like the Scott and Oates team, they will do so completely unsupported, dragging their tents, food, clothes and other equipment on specially designed pulks. It is expected to take 19 days to complete the journey, crossing some of the most extreme terrain on the planet in temperatures of -40ºC.

The Expedition is raising funds for the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation to support Iceland’s adopted charities Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) and Walking With The Wounded.

Deeside-based Iceland gave over £1.2m to ARUK last year and has pledged to donate a further £1m in the current year; more
than £850,000 of this has already been raised, principally via donations from customers and staff.

All funds raised in excess of £1m will be donated to Walking With The Wounded.

Mr Walker said, “It is 42 years to the day since I opened the very first Iceland store in Oswestry, and I’m delighted to be marking the
anniversary by setting off on this latest challenge.

“I’ve always believed that it’s good for business people to step outside their comfort zones from time to time, though I’ll admit that this may be pushing the concept to extremes.”

“Earlier this year I abseiled down the Shard and now I’m aiming to complete the Polar double through 19 days of what I know will be utter misery, given that my natural habitat is a centrally heated five star hotel suite rather than a shared tent at -40°C.”

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