Former Stradbroke woman Billy Hawes on dog sled challenge for Countryside Alliance

A daring explorer is preparing to embark on the latest of her many thrilling adventures around the globe to raise money and rural awareness.

Self-proclaimed eccentric Billy Hawes is leaving these chilly isles for an even colder climate and a 200km trek across the far reaches of Norway, in aid of the Countryside Alliance.

The seven-day Arctic Dog Sled Challenge coincides with Billy's 60th birthday and is the most recent chapter in a well-travelled tale of worldwide expedition.

She emigrated 23 years ago with her family from their Stradbroke farm to Western Australia, where she and her husband have now retired.

Billy is back in Suffolk visiting family in Hasketon, near Woodbridge, before setting off on her Nordic adventure, from which she hopes to help raise �40,700 for the rural campaign group. She said: 'Since retiring I have had an interesting life away from horses!

'I sailed the world yacht race in 2007/8, which included losing our mast and engine in the Pacific.

'I worked for six months as a volunteer for the Australian Children's Trust after the dreadful bush fires of 2009, working with the people to rebuild their town and community. I worked for the Salvation Army emergency services in Western Australia.'

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Between all of Billy's adventures, she has found time to return to college to study for a diploma in community service and financial counselling, sail with 11 others in a 66ft yacht across Drakes Passage to the Antarctic, and spend a week in Argentina learning about farming in the region and how to play polo.

You can wish Billy well on February 17 at the Fakenham Race Day, where she will appear with dogs pulling a sled on wheels, or show your support by visiting www.justgiving.com/Billy-Hawes

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