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Formby Rotary get a blast of Arctic Air

Recently Formby Rotary Club had a very amusing and entertaining talk from Pat Ashcroft. Pat does a lot of fundraising for MENCAP and in the past has taken up many challenges to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those with learning difficulties.

Pat came to the club to tell them about her experiences dog sledding in the Arctic. She joined 5 other people to spend six days living in the Arctic. Pat is a lady of 'mature years' and was considerably older than the rest of the team! But she's a lady with indomitable spirit and was not daunted by the prospect of spending her days and nights in sub zero temperatures and hanging onto a dog sled for eight hours a day!

Before she set off, Pat had to undergo a rigorous training programme to ensure she had the upper body strength to drive the sled. Although, as she pointed out to club members, you don't actually drive, but just hang on for grim death hoping you don't fall off. Once you give the order 'mush' the dogs set off and will run all day. It's up to you to stay upright and keep sled upright too! If you topple off the dogs will not stop and you are left in the snow! The sled carries all your and the dogs supplies and equipment. Not something you would want to lose.

Pat told the club how your first consideration in the Arctic is always your dog team and she obviously had a good rapport with her team. The dogs were fed first and you checked they were settled for the night before you ate and crawled exhausted into your tent! Although there was little time or energy to reflect on the trip whilst actually experiencing it, when Pat returned home she had time to think about her arctic adventure. She'd enjoyed the trip but was glad it was over. Most days it was just a challenge to keep focused on keeping going and not falling off the sled. She told the club that for people with learning difficulties their challenges are never over and that it's that thought that keeps Pat taking up these challenges! The photo shows Pat using a chair to demonstrate sledding techniques. If you would like to find out more about Formby Rotary or join us for an evening please go to our website for details of our programme of events and who to contact if you would like to attend a meeting You're assured a warm welcome.

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