This image shows the amount of equipment you really need to survive the Arctic temperatures – including a -40c sleeping bag, snow shoes, satellite communication … and toilet roll.

The life-saving items were laid out ahead of former England rugby star Will Greenwood’s Arctic trek in memory of his son Freddie, who died less than an hour after being born just 22 weeks into wife Caroline’s pregnancy.

He will be joined by nine others, including SAS: Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox – who was a premature baby himself – and polar explorer Alan Chambers.

Will, 45, and his team are hoping to raise £500,000 for the charity Borne, which funds research into preterm births.

The team, which will also involve Borne chairman Julian Mylchreest, will battle the unpredictable and freezing weather conditions while pulling a sledge containing everything they need to survive in the harsh environment.

Among this essential kit is an ice pick, ice screws, rope, carabiners, a compass, tent and a polar bear trip wire and alarm system.

The sledge, which will weigh 60 kg, will also contain cooking fuel, utensils and enough food to give them the 6,000 calories they each need to consume each day to maintain the energy levels they need.

Will said: “As a father, I’d do anything to give my children the full and healthy life they deserve. And to give future mothers, fathers and children this right, I’d walk to the ends of the earth.

“I hate the cold and I’m going to the North Pole, but if there’s half a chance that more research means there could be a drug to halt premature birth, or a screening test, if it can help one family not have to go through that dark night, then it’s worth freezing my knackers off for.

“There is so much yet to learn about why babies like Freddie are born too soon. We must focus on research to find answers to the problems that can accompany childbirth that cause so much heartbreak for families.”

Jason Fox, who himself was born premature at just 32 weeks added: “I went through quite a lot of complications, worried my parents witless, and because of that, I want to try and put something back into a charity that helps premature births and helps research into the prevention of premature births.”

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year, with more than 1 million of those losing their fight for life.

In the UK alone, 8 per cent of births are preterm with 60,000 families affected every year.

The money raised from the Arctic challenge will fund a new programme of research into the maternal immune system.

The team will set off from Barneo Ice Camp, a temporary Russian ice base 60 miles from the North Pole and walk for eight hours a day.

During the trip, which is expected to take 5-7 days, they will face storms, white-outs and risk frost bite and coming face-to-face with polar bears.

Explorer Alan Chambers, who will be leading the team, said: “The Arctic Ocean is a beautiful but brutal environment. One of the very last wild frontiers that tests mankind.

“The frozen arctic ocean isn’t for the faint hearted or the individual with an ego. You will be stripped bare for all to see.

“One of the biggest challenges that is found at the poles and across deserts is the constant thoughts of isolation, vulnerability and nothingness.

“This alone can play tricks on your mind, there is nowhere to escape.

“As an individual you are exposed to your strengths and weakness and as a team full of individuals, the greatest challenge will be performing as one unit with one common goal.

Julian Mylchreest, a father of five children, all born prematurely added: “Our trek to the Arctic will hopefully just be the beginning of more funding to find answers and develop new treatments to prevent preterm birth.

“Research into prematurity is so massively underfunded and we must change that. No baby’s first hours should be their last or their hardest.”

The Borne Arctic Challenge takes place from 5-16 April 2018. To donate, visit www.borne.org.uk #BorneArcticTrek

Kit list:
Sledge and harness
Ice pick
Ice screws
Freeze dried food
Cooking fuel
Sleeping bag
Inflatable thermal mattress pad
Insulated pad for sleeping on
An insulated jacket with a fur-lined hood
Thermal base layers
Arctic walking boots
Polar bear trip wire and alarm system
Peli case with satellite phones and batteries
First aid kit
Cooking utensils
Toilet roll
Water bottles


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