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Richmond man and team on massive mission to raise £1m and break records
A team of four men, who have just six working legs between them, will risk their lives when they snow-kite over seven active volcanoes to raise £1m for charity.
The adventurers, who include ex-winter Paralympian Sean Rose, will be the first team to cross Vatnajökull, also known as the Vatna glacier, the largest in Europe.
The group will face -40C temperatures, 100mph winds, pass active volcanoes and risk being swallowed up by sinkholes when they take on the challenge in April.
If successful, it will be the first time any non-able bodied athlete has crossed the glacier in Iceland – a country that hit the headlines in 2010 when one of its volcanoes erupted, causing air travel chaos.
Keiron Jansch, 42, from Richmond, is among the adventurers, who regularly train in Richmond Park and want to raise cash for spinal cord research.
Mr Jansch, a keen snow-kiter since 2008, said: “I’m a little nervous if I’m honest.
“There are a great many elements that all have to come together at exactly the right time in order for us to succeed.”
Snow-kiting, similar to kitesurfing, is a sport where people use kite power to glide on snow or ice.
The rest of the team is expedition leader Mike Dann, logistics coordinator Robert Brown and ex-RAF fitness instructor Sean Rose, who suffered a catastrophic skiing accident in 2000 that left him paralysed from the waist down.
Mr Jansch said: “It is Sean’s determination that has brought us all together and made our project a reality.
“I have never met another person who has his level determination, perseverance and self-belief.
“It’s infectious, and it was very soon after meeting him in the Richmond Park cafe at Roehampton Gate that we determined we should make the attempt on the glacier.”
One of the main concerns for the group when they cross the 3,100sq m glacier are sinkholes - cracks in the ice, which can measure up to a mile wide and are caused by heat from the volcanoes which in turn melts the ice thin, causing it to collapse in on itself.
Mr Jansch said: “This project has been an inspiration, and also a lifeline to me during a very difficult time.
“It has allowed me to feel like a valuable part of a team of committed and passionate people, and proven to me that no matter the obstacles, amazing things can be achieved.”
Mr Jansch will take part in the expedition in aid of Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, a charity committed to finding a cure for spinal injury.
For more information, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/4people6legs.
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