St Albans community offers messages of support to North Pole adventurer
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:44 31 March 2016
Ed Suttie's valiant trek to the North Pole has inspired the support of the St Albans community.
The backing of local fundraisers has helped Ed collect in excess of £42,000, smashing his original £30K target, and the funds are still pouring in as he heads towards a revised figure of £45K.
Events over the past six months included the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day, which saw more than 150 plucky plungers brave the chill to throw themselves into freezing cold water at St Albans Sub Aqua Club Pool.
In February the Snow Ball gala evening became the last public event in the Assembly Rooms of the Old Town Hall, and also raised more than £13K for the appeal.
Many local companies and individuals contributed to the evening’s success with either free or heavily discounted services, including the “Northside” polar cocktail conceived by Mokoko, music from McClaren Wall and the Desert Penguins, and a three course meal produced by the Smokehouse Deli.
Other fundraising activities have included talks at Waterstones, quiz nights, cake sales, a curry night and a competition to design Ed’s North Pole flag, which was won by six-year-old Lottie Draper from Aboyne Lodge School.
Ed said: “It’s been incredible, I had not anticipated the level of support I would receive. I’ve lived in St Albans for more than 20 years and I’ve met more people in the last six months than in all that time. This is an amazing city and I would like to thank everybody for their support, from the schoolkids who paid a pound to enter a quiz through to my larger sponsors.”
Messages of support from his backers have been pouring in prior to the start of his expedition.
Camilla Nichol, chief executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, said: “I just wanted, on behalf on myself, my team and our trustees, to wish Ed all the very, very best for his adventure this week.
“I am confident that all his preparations will stand him in good stead for what will be an experience and accomplishment of a lifetime.
“We will be willing him on every step of the way and look forward to the incredible pictures and the tale he will have to tell.”
Radio Verulam Drivetime show presenter Danny Smith said: “Best wishes for your momentous journey and well done for raising an amazing amount of money for such worthy causes!
“Our listeners have been keenly following your progress and we look forward to hearing all about how it went.”
Sarah Simpson, managing director of Century One Publishing in St Albans said: “All the team here wish Ed good luck and a safe journey on his North Pole adventure.
“It has been a pleasure to be involved in the fundraising efforts and in raising awareness of some fantastic local charities.”
Jean Archibald, marketing manager at Rayner Essex, said: “Good luck Ed! We will be tracking your journey and watching out for the planting of your flag at the pole, keep warm and don’t forget your woolly vest!”
Gemma Sealey from Waterstones said: “Ed Suttie is one of the most inspirational individuals I have ever been blessed to meet. A rare genuine soul whose passion to inspire and vivacity is infectious.
“A river to his people, a true community champion.
“We held a day of Polar-themed activities and an evening event in support of Ed’s charity trek and it was so heart warming to gather the community together to celebrate Ed’s incredible challenge.
“We look forward to following his journey and hearing all his stories of his expedition upon his return.”
Rennie Grove community fundraising manager Nicola MacKinnon said: “Everyone at Rennie Grove Hospice Care wishes Ed the best of luck. We can’t wait to see the flag at the North Pole!”
Gels Picciuto from Smokehouse Deli said: “We would like to wish Ed all the continued success with his fund raising efforts, his impending journey and safe return!
It was a true delight to work with Ed and Clare on the Snow Ball at the Old Town hall recently - we fed over 100 invited guests and we had a team of volunteers that assisted with serving the guests on the night!”
Jim Hearn from Atlas Translations passed on their wishes: “Congratulations on your amazing fundraising, and good luck with your expedition Ed - don’t forget your jacket!”
Tim Leighton from Northwood added: “A terrific challenge for some terrific charities! All the best on your trek to the Pole! N-ice work!”
St Albans blogger Chrissie Saunders said: “The Sutties have not only tackled an enormous fundraising challenge and Ed’s actual ski trek to the North Pole but through this they have embraced the local community through a number of events: the Polar Bear Plunge, cinema at the Pudding Stop, curry at Kohinoor, The Snow Ball, The Beard-off and many more, bringing St Albans even closer together!”
Finally, Johnny Shepherd from The Pudding Stop had a particularly poignant message to send Ed on his way: “I’ve always thought the poem The Call of the Wild inspires exploration and here is an extract from the final verse which should inspire Ed:
“Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know
There’s a whisper on the night wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the wild is calling, calling…let us go.”