Chilled food boss prepares for big freeze with polar expedition

A Worcestershire businessman is aiming to take part in an expedition to the North Pole in a bid to raise £100,000 for charity.

Dean Attwell has begun preparations for the greatest challenge of his life, which he is undertaking to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Mr Attwell, CEO of Redditch-based chilled food distributor Oakland International, will embark upon the polar expedition on April 10 and is expected to take 16 days to reach the most northerly point on the planet.

He has fully funded the expedition and all the money raised from the quest will go directly to benefit Cancer Research UK and cancer support work being done at the Christie Clinic in Manchester and the Lingen Davies centre in Shrewsbury.

Over the past two-years, several people in his life have been touched by, or have succumbed to cancer. His mother-in-law, Ruby Tuffin Delves, died of cancer in October 2015 and he said it was her natural spark and huge enthusiasm for life that was pivotal in his decision.  

In addition, the disease claimed the life of Oakland International colleague, Stefan Bakalar, Simon Ward, who was instrumental in helping Mr Attwell lose weight and train, and John Brown, an 18-year old former head boy at Bredon School and an inspiration to Mr Attwell’s son.

Mr Attwell said: “Turning 50 this year I decided I’d trek to the North Pole, one of the biggest challenges I have so far undertaken.

“Having lost my mother-in-law to cancer in October 2015 and subsequently seeing the devastating effect that cancer has had on members of my family, friends and colleagues over the last 12 months, I wanted to do something to raise money for a cause which will almost certainly affect each and every one of us, directly or indirectly, at some stage in the future.

“The fundraising target I’ve set myself of £100,000 is massive and it will be a significant personal challenge. All expedition costs are covered, so every penny donated will go directly towards Cancer Research UK.”
 
The expedition will involve eight to 10 hours of walking each day in temperatures that can drop to -45 degrees centigrade, whilst pulling a 50kg sled containing his tent, food and all his supplies for two weeks.

To get into training, Mr Attwell undertook a trip to Minnesota in the United States, spending a week in freezing conditions as he was taught the essential survival skills and preparation necessary to complete the expedition.

Mr Attwell has said up a Just Giving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NorthPoleDean – so people can donate to the charity.