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Into the Heart of Darkness

In November 2019 I'll be skiing from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole. Dates are yet to be confirmed as the exact timings will be dictated by a number of factors. The journey covers a distance of about 700 miles, give or take a few miles (I'm hoping to avoid adding any extra). During the course of the ski I'll be climbing to a height of about 3,000 metres. Temperatures can dip as low as minus 40 C (and lower, but let's not think about that). In order to keep the cold at bay I'll be wearing lots of warm layers and eating an awful lot of fat and sugar, including chocolate - who said there are no plus points to skiing such a huge distance.To be honest, I'd quite like to stop and talk more about chocolate, but you want to know about this epic journey...
Why are We Going to the South Pole?No, that isn't a typo - we are going to the South Pole. So many amazing people have worked, and contiue to work, hard to support this journey and I felt it rude not to find a way for them to share both the limelight and the experience. The tried and tested way of recounting any kind of expedition is through show and tell - a bit like being invited over to see your friends or relatives holiday photos (it’s a mere 30 years after the last time this happened and I still shiver at the thought). We do love photos and stories. We live in an age where internet access is available almost everywhere in the world which is why we're going to do something a little different.There's internet access in the polar regions. But don't get too excited - connectivity is via satellite and the current speed is about 2.4kbps - 0.0024MB (slower than the internet connection I had back in 1999)!
The good news is that, even with a slow connection, you'll be able to follow along. I'm currently working on a way to gather some key data (heart rate, calories burned, distance travelled and GPS waypoints) that will be displayed on a tracking website. Nobody has done all this before. Yes, many explorers have published their GPS tracks, but not all of the data I've detailed.In addition I'll be taking email questions and answering them via satellite call. Sorry, I'll only have time to answer a couple of questions each day - stuff like eating and sleeping get in the way of replying to you all. Audio updates will be posted on Soundcloud.
Back to the reason whyI'm skiing to the South Pole for these reasons:To raise awareness and donations for several charities that focus on mental health:Lindengate - a Buckinghamshire based mental health charity that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs in their continuing recovery. The Hoplite Foundation - a Herefordshire based charity which aims to help ex-servicemen and women suffering from the effects of PTSD.A children’s mental health charity who I am unable to mention right now.To create a documentary that details the effects of isolation and loneliness as a means to help better understand how these factors impact those who suffer from mental health issues AND their carers.Because it's there!
Solo, Unsupported and UnaidedThe journey will be long and lonely (that latter description being a key factor). There will be no resupplies and no equipment e.g. kites, snow scooters, etc will be used during the ski. Currently, only about 26 people have completed this epic journey.
Crazy? No, definitely not.
Here are a few comments from friends and relatives:
"I wish you the very best and look forward to sharing a few cold ones and hearing your stories when you return." - Ollie.
"That's nice. I can imagine it's going to take you a few days to get there." - A geographically challenged relative.
"Daddy, we are very proud of you." - My daughters."What?" - My hard of hearing father.
The list is huge and I'd love to add everyone's voice to the mix on this page. Instead I'll create a blog post dedicated to all of your lovely comments.In SummaryRaising awareness and funds for Lindengate, the Hoplite Foundation and a children’s mental health charity..Creating a documentary that helps us all better understand the effects of isolation and loneliness.A world first - heart rate, calories burned per day, distance travelled and GPS waypoints collected each day and uploaded to a website for you all to view.

James Redden

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Merton Centre for Independent Living

Help us raise some money this Easter that will help us continue our important work in Merton. A donation of £5 could - helps us to pay for travel to a home visit, so that Deaf or Disabled People who can’t travel can access quality advice in their own homesA donation of £10 could - buy refreshments for our Craftivism and Chat Group where Deaf or Disabled People work together to have our say on local issuesA donation of £10 could - pay for one of our trained members of staff to support a Deaf or Disabled Person with options for next stepsA donation of £25 could - pay for craft materials for our monthly support group that allows Deaf and Disabled People to come together and reduce isolationA donation of £50 could - cover the costs of one to one specialised advice and advocacy support for a Deaf or Disabled Person experiencing issues with their benefits, housing, or social careA donation of £50 could - pay towards helping a Deaf or Disabled Person apply for the benefits they are entitled to.A donation of £100 could - pay for a British Sign Language interpreter to make sure that Deaf People can access good quality adviceA donation of £150 could - help us to support Deaf or Disabled People at a benefits assessment and make sure they can properly represent themselves and get heard.

Read more... Registered Charity Number: 1152825

Grange School Parents Association

The role of the Grange School Parents' Association (GSPA) is to organise events for the social benefit of the children, their parents and the wider school community for the financial benefit of the children, the school and occasionally charities that the school has chosen to support. We are one association that serves both the Junior and Senior Schools.Currently at The Grange Junior School, Hartford is a special little girl, Molly, who has experienced things no one should have to. A few days before her 6thbirthday, Molly was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare tumour, and underwent gruelling chemotherapy and proton beam therapy treatment for it.Molly loves ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.  As a result, the Grange School Parents’ Association with support from parents are throwing our next event ‘Strictly at The Grange’ to raise awareness and funds in aid of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, a charity dedicated to improving early diagnosis of childhood cancer. The event takes place 26th April 2019.All money raised will be donated to 'Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust'.

Read more... Registered Charity Number: 1166838

The Museum of The Broads

Welcome to the waterside museum of Broadland life at the historic and picturesque Stalham Staithe. Discover the history of the Broads, its people, boats and wildlife. The Museum is a family and dog friendly Norfolk attraction with trails and activities for all ages. The only way to truly appreciate the Broads landscape is to take a boat trip. Our steam launch, Falcon, is very popular but she isn't accessible to wheelchair users. We will soon have a new boat, Marsh Harrier, and are fundraising to buy a special lift to enable everyone, disabled and able bodied, to go on the river. Will you help us with our appeal? Thank you.

Read more... Registered Charity Number: 1036734
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