The project, called 65 Degrees North, was led by amputee Peter Bowker, who lost his leg as a direct result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Along with five other ex-servicemen, the team pitted their resolve and steadfast determination, relying on supreme fitness and mental grit to overcome the fearsome environment of the Greenland ice cap, its temperatures of -37°c, the threat of fatigue and resident polar bears to successfully complete the crossing in June. The project was supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund.
As well as 65 Degrees North, we take a look at some of the other military good causes and emergency services charities that have received funding from banking fines.
The trek was supported by £100,000 of funding pledged by the Chancellor in March. This came from fines levied on banks for fixing the Libor exchange rate. It is part of more than £500 million from banking fines pledged by the Chancellor to support military good causes and emergency service charities since 2012.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
We owe our brave British servicemen and women a huge debt for their service in Afghanistan and across the globe defending British values. People like Peter Bowker and his team mates have put their lives at risk and made huge sacrifices.
The veterans here today were part of an intrepid team crossing the Greenland icecap with Peter to demonstrate that injury is no barrier to astonishing accomplishment, which is why I’m delighted that I was able to provide £100,000 to ensure this endeavour could go ahead and even more pleased that the team completed their challenge successfully.
This funding came from Libor fines on banks, paid by those who demonstrated the very worst values, to support those who represent the very best of British values, like the team at 65 Degrees North.
I’m also proud to say that this government continues to recognise that Britain has always been resolute in the promotion of stability around the world. That’s why I recently committed to meet the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence every year of this decade.
Peter Bowker said:
The 65 Degrees North team thank the Chancellor for his much needed personal and financial support, given to the ‘Worlds First unsupported crossing of the Greenland Ice cap by an amputee’ in May 2015. This successful and challenging expedition, which took 2 years to prepare for and 27 days on the ice in permanently arduous conditions, broke new boundaries of daring and determination for war wounded amputees.
The financial assistance from LIBOR Funds made an invaluable contribution to the mission’s success. It meant the team could source the very best equipment that allowed them to operate in Greenland’s harshest conditions. It made the difference between success and failure.
It has also spurred on the team’s determination to continue enabling war wounded to address significant physical challenges, all of which bring with them equally psychological challenges. Plans are already underway for further expeditions in 2016 and 2017.
65 Degrees North takes pride in helping disabled people to demonstrate what is achievable despite injury, and to show once again why Britain is great.