Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan welcomed former Welsh Rugby International Richard Parks to London today (7th December 2010), just six days before he embarks on the challenge of a lifetime.
Meeting Richard at her office at Gwydyr House, Mrs Gillan offered her support for the epic fund-raising challenge in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. The ‘737 Challenge’ will see Richard begin a gripping seven-month expedition, climbing seven summits on each continent and should he be successful - becoming the first person in history to stand on three poles in the same calendar year.
As part of his training for the journey, Richard Parks has already faced sub-zero temperatures, clinical hypothermia and near-fatal avalanches. During the challenge, he faces plummeting temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius at the North Pole and will be at risk of developing frostbite and altitude sickness.
Mrs Gillan said: “Richard is incredibly brave and determined to see this challenge through to the end - what he has already endured as part of his training is astonishing. He is a wonderful ambassador for Wales and a true inspiration for young people. I am delighted that Marie Curie Cancer Care will benefit from Richard’s expedition and I wish him every success.”
Mr Parks said: “It’s a real privilege to be invited to Gwydyr House today; I’m incredibly honoured and grateful to receive the support of the Secretary of State. I know that to have her support will be a boost to the profile of the challenge and for fundraising in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care”.
- The challenge consists of the South Pole, Mount Vinson in Europe (4,897m), Aconcagia in South America (6,962m), Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (5895m), Carstensz Pyramid in Australasia (4,884m), the North Pole, Mount Everest in Asia (8,850m), Mount Denali in North America (6,194m) and Mount Elbrus in Europe (5,642m).
- For more information about the challenge or to donate, go to www.737challenge.com** **