Arctic challenge for grandmother

Helen Arundel from Marton cum Grafton. (S)
Helen Arundel from Marton cum Grafton. (S)

A GRANDMOTHER from Marton-cum-Grafton is heading off to the Arctic Circle for a trekking challenge involving husky dogs to raise money for charity.

Helen Arundel is undertaking the challenge to mark her 65th birthday and aims to raise £2,012 for the Leeds’ Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – a cause close to her family since granddaughter Chloe was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

“Her complex problems were diagnosed when she was five-days-old and now at the age of 14 she has experienced a great many operations and procedures at Leeds General Infirmary,” said Mrs Arundel.

The husky challenge, organised by Global Adventure Challenges, will involve Mrs Arundel and 15 other adventurers driving a team of huskies 250km (155 miles) in the Arctic Circle, from April 1 - 8.

She is already in training for the challenge to increase her strength and stamina in preparation for pushing sleds up mountains and coping with 14-hour days.

Mrs Arundel said: “I’ve joined the gym at Ripon Leisure Centre and have also built physical activity into my working life by delivering papers on foot in Grafton most mornings, and taking a young man out for long walks in his wheelchair as part of my work as a carer.”

She has also just returned from a trip to Sweden visiting her son and daughter-in-law which allowed her to get in some training in colder climes.

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, based at Leeds General Infirmary, works to provide the best possible environment for care and support for children with heart problems and their families by, for example, investing in revolutionary technology.

“Their motto is ‘Each child a childhood’,” said Mrs Arundel, who will be covering the costs of the trip herself so that every penny raised or donated will go directly to the charity.

Tomorrow (Saturday, February 4), she will be holding a fundraising coffee morning at Marton-cum-Grafton Memorial Hall, from 10am-noon, to promote her challenge.

As well as stalls, cakes, and crafts, there will also be two special guests – Blizzard and Storm, two of the Riggmoor Reindeers based at Little Givendale Farm, near Ripon.

To find out more about Mrs Arundel’s challenge and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund or to sponsor her, visit the fundraising web page at