Man to brave cold in North Pole for charity rugby game

Steve Henry with friends doing the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert

Steve Henry with friends doing the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert - Credit: Archant

Polar bears and subzero temperatures are not the usual risks during a rugby match – but a Dalston man is braving life in the freezer, trekking 100 miles to the North Pole where he will play the game for charity.

Steve Henry’s extreme adventure in temperatures that regularly drop to minus 30 degrees, is part of a challenge organised by charity Wooden Spoon, which aims to raise £300,000 to help disabled and disadvantaged children through rugby.

The 31-year-old, of Dalston Square, hopes to raise £25,000 and will form part of the 14-strong company who will play a full game of seven-a-side rugby at the tip of the world.

He said: “I’m really chuffed to be part of it. It’s the first time I am doing something in the cold and once we get there the challenge will be trying to do everything in the cold. It will be quite a long slog most days too, with the monotonous struggle of the landscape – it will be hard going physically.

“The other thing we have to worry about is polar bears, we’ve done some rifle training but I hope we don’t have to use them.

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“I was looking on the web and found this; I used to play rugby until 28 and the rugby was a big part of what drew me to it. I was looking for something completely different to do as a new challenge.”

Steve, who works as a risk analyst for a finance firm, is no stranger to pushing his physical limits.

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He said he enjoys the thrill of new challenges and has previously completed the Marathon des Sables – a 250km marathon across the Sahara Desert.

Now travelling in temperatures at the opposite end of the spectrum, Steve and his teammates will take two flights over Canada and to the Arctic where they will begin the trek.

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

Steve said: “I’ve only met my teammates through the project but they are a really good and mixed bunch, it’s been great meeting them and getting to know them. With Tim and Ollie, by now it feels like they are teammates rather than rugby celebrities.

“I think one of my main motivations is seeing a place that is so different to a place that you normally see. Not many people can experience it, like with the Marathon des Sables, a lot of people will go on holiday and look at the edge of the desert but not run through it.

“Now it will be a real privilege to get trekking to the North Pole and see something people that don’t normally get to see – and Wooden Spoon is a fantastic charity.”

The teams depart on April 15.

To sponsor Steve, visit

People can also donate by texting POLE49 £2, £5, £10 etc to 70070.

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