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Husky sledding, igloo building and skiing - Norfolk astronomer returns from charity Arctic adventure

PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:06 12 March 2017

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

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

Archant

A Norfolk astronomer who spent five days building igloos, snowshoeing and husky sledding during an Arctic adventure for a children’s charity is back on Norfolk soil.

Mark Thompson took part in the challenge with TV presenter Helen Fospero and a team of explorers to raise awareness - and funds - for Barnado’s.

Despite jetting off just 10 weeks after undergoing knee surgery, Mr Thompson and his team completed their trek, returning back to British soil on Saturday.

During their five days in Finland, around four kilometres north of the Russian border, the team built igloos, snowshoed through snow drifts more than two feet deep, turned their hands to cross-country skiing and learnt about husky sledding.

Mr Thompson, who lives in south Norfolk, said: “It was really interesting - we made igloos to sleep in, which were actually nice and toasty.

“Snow is actually quite insulating, so it was about minus 20 outside and only about minus one inside. We had to have a candle inside to monitor oxygen levels - if the candle went out we knew they had dropped, and that it was time to get out.”

Though he had hoped to capture shots of the Northern Lights, there was only one night to enjoy clear skies before clouds and more snow rolled in.

Mark Thompson on his Arctic adventure for Barnado's. Picture: Mark ThompsonMark Thompson on his Arctic adventure for Barnado's. Picture: Mark Thompson

The main goal of the stunt was to raise awareness for the cause, but today team hit their fundraising target of £10,000.

To spur on donations, Mr Thompson, an author and television presenter, pledged to jump into the Arctic ice pool once they hit the target - which, as the total neared £10,000, he braved anyway out of good faith, something he described, in short, as “freezing”.

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

“It was a great few days and something I’ve never done before,

We think that through the articles and interviews we’ve done, it’s generated what would have been about £100,000 worth of advertising,” he said.

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

“It’s all money that will go towards helping children who need it most.”

To donate, click here.

• Do you know of someone taking on an unusual challenge? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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