'If you have a dream you can do it': Man who survived Asian tsunami aims for epic adventure
PUBLISHED: 08:14 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:14 13 December 2019
A 999 worker who survived the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 is hoping to win a spot on a 300km trek through Lapland - by husky sled.
Martin Grove hopes to highlight that "any goal is possible" with the "unforgettable experience" of the Fjällräven Polar.
A former diving instructor turned frontline fire service and now ambulance worker, Mr Grove survived the Asian tsunami in Sri Lanka almost 15 years ago.
Mr Grove, who is an emergency medical technician for the East of England Ambulance Service, was born in Lowestoft and now lives in Beccles, and moved back to the area after the devastating tsunami of 2004 "as [he] wanted to help people".
The 45-year-old, who is married with two teenage sons, also writes an outdoor blog and runs a YouTube channel based on trying to get people outdoors.
He said: "Being outdoors is very important to me - I enjoy the outside world.
"I have a deep belief that the outdoors plays an important part of mental health wellbeing.
"I enjoy bushcraft, wild camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, hammock camping and generally being outdoors."
The Fjällräven Polar, which is due to be held from March next year, is an adventure in the arctic wilderness that lets you experience nature from the back of a husky dog sled.
Mr Grove said: "Making this journey through Sápmi would be a unforgettable experience.
"I have always wanted to do this expedition and it would mean the world to me as it is something on the bucket list."
In 2017 Mr Grove and two colleagues from the ambulance service took part in the Fjallraven Classic 2017 - a 110km charity trek through northern Sweden raising money for SARS.
He said: "This was a great experience and I long to go back to the area."
With the event "all about votes", 24 people will be chosen from 12 regions from around the world to take part in the adventure. Mr Grove is currently in third place.
Mr Grove said: "I am asking for support to help me gain votes to win, to prove to people that goals are possible - you just need to work for them.
"It would show people if you have a dream you can do it."
To vote for Mr Grove visit https://polar.fjallraven.com/contestant/?id=7934
Boxing Day Tsunami
Almost 15 years ago Mr Grove was preparing for a dream diving holiday.
But an idyllic trip of a lifetime turned into a nightmare life-changing event, as he witnessed the major natural disaster.
After arriving with his wife for a planned holiday to Sri Lanka on Christmas Day 2004, he recalled: "The next day we were waiting on the beach for the dive boat when the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 hit the Sri Lankan coastline.
"We were swept through the dive shop and down the road.
"Luckily we managed to climb onto a car and finally onto the roof of a house to safety."
While in Sri Lanka Mr Grove helped many people by dressing wounds before returning to Cyprus, where the couple were living and working then, on December 31, 2004.
Not long after Mr and Mrs Grove re-located to the UK and Martin started working as an on-call fire fighter.