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‘Norfolk Day is a way for us to show passion for our county’

PUBLISHED: 08:31 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 07 March 2018

Astronomer Mark Thompson backs Norfolk Day. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Astronomer Mark Thompson backs Norfolk Day. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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TV star astronomer Mark Thompson has heralded the county’s world-leading science research and given his backing to Norfolk Day.

Astronomer Mark Thompson on his 2017 Arctic trek. Picture: Courtesy Mark ThompsonAstronomer Mark Thompson on his 2017 Arctic trek. Picture: Courtesy Mark Thompson

Adding his support to the celebration of Nelson’s County on July 27, Mr Thompson said the county had a lot going for it and much to celebrate.

“Norfolk is amongst the world leaders in scientific research,” he said.

“Many people know of the research park but few know about the great work it does and we need to celebrate our achievements more.”

Mr Thompson, who lives near Harleston with his wife Karen and children Phoebe, 8, and Riley, 6, said Norfolk also had a community spirit that was not easily found elsewhere.

Astronomer Mark Thompson and Helen Fospero on the 2017 Arctic trek. Picture: Courtesy Mark ThompsonAstronomer Mark Thompson and Helen Fospero on the 2017 Arctic trek. Picture: Courtesy Mark Thompson

“We witnessed this last week with the poor weather when we had people coming out to help one another,” he said.

“So, I think Norfolk Day is a brilliant idea and a way for us show how passionate we are about our county.”

READ MORE: Prince William shows support for Norfolk Day

Having completed an Arctic trek last year to raise funds for charity, Mr Thompson and fellow TV presenter Helen Fospero will attempt to summit Mount Kinabalu in Borneo later this year.

Spectacular Science Show with Mark Thompson at Norwich Cathedral, for Norwich Science Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLYSpectacular Science Show with Mark Thompson at Norwich Cathedral, for Norwich Science Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

At 4,095 metres high, its is the highest mountain in Malaysia and is amongst the most important biological sites in the world, with between 5,000 and 6,000 species of plants, 326 species of birds, and more than 100 mammalian species identified in the area.

“We’re again doing this to raise funds for Barnardo’s,” said Mr Thompson. “We plan to leave on May 12 and return on May 19 with the summit taking place on the 17th.

“I’ve never climbed anything higher than Gas Hill, so am expecting this to be quite tough.

“It’s also very different to our Arctic trek last year as the mountain is surrounded by rain forest and it will be quite humid.”

Mark Thompson and Helen Fospero on their Arctic adventure for Barnardo's. Picture: Mark ThompsonMark Thompson and Helen Fospero on their Arctic adventure for Barnardo's. Picture: Mark Thompson

He has been preparing for the climb by doing plenty of leg exercises, including squats and running on an inclined treadmill.

“This is not a mountain that everyone has climbed and its off the beaten track, which makes it quite challenging.

“But I love being outdoors and am really up for this sort of challenge.”

• To make a donation visit Mark Thompson Astronomy or text MTBA99 £** to 70070 (where £** can be £1 £2 £5 or £10).

READ MORE: All you need to know about Norfolk Day

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