Dalston man breaks record as one of the first men playing rugby in North Pole

Celebrating at the Pole

Celebrating at the Pole - Credit: Archant

A man has braved life in sub-zero temperatures, trekking 100 miles to the North Pole where he was one of the first men to ever play a full game of rugby for charity.

Steve Henry, 31, of Dalston Square, Dalston, formed part of the 14-strong company who played the game of seven-a-side rugby in the Arctic.

He said: “It was an amazing experience and a fantastic thing to do. Some of the places we were camping around Resolute, the northernmost settlement, were lovely and we were on a tiny planes that land on skis and drop you off in the middle of nowhere.

“We were many hundreds of miles from the nearest person and you feel that isolation, it’s amazing but worrying at the same time – I had to mentally check if I forgot anything, there was no going back.”

He added: “It’s a beautiful place, much more varied than I thought. You get different shapes in the snow like an odd pinnacle of iceberg that hasn’t melted from the previous year. There was ridiculous snow and ice in places and a little bit of rolling terrain.

“We would spend about eight hours trekking and mentally that is the biggest challenge, to keep on going.”

Steve’s epic adventure was part of a challenge organised by charity Wooden Spoon, which aims to raise £300,000 to help disabled and disadvantaged children through rugby.

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He said: “We have still got some fundraising to go. We have now raised £200,000 so we have got some dinner galas planned.”

The teams were led by former Rugby Union internationals, Tim Stimpson and Ollie Phillips, while former England and British Lions player, Lee Mears was the match referee.

Steve said: “There was this mad rush to get the pitch set up and you could see posts and flags going up and someone marking it out with red tape and doing all the measurements.

It had to be International Rugby Board standard to be a sanctioned game so we were all working really hard and suddenly, where there was nothing, there was this amazing looking pitch on the ice; it was an amazing sight to see.”

Steve, who was on the winning team, continued: “The whole trip was made better by the group of people. It was an amazing bunch we went out with and now I think we are really close friends.

“We got up to mischief along the way and had a lot of fun as well as taking the serious side. There are already talks about the South Pole.”