Valiant GP Roisin raises thousands for Ark on epic trek

The force of Mother Nature may have stopped valiant Hampshire GP Roisin Ward in her tracks – but she and her intrepid team succeeded in raising thousands of pounds for charity and made their mark in what is billed as the World’s toughest expedition race.

Roisin, her sister Jo Bush, and their friend Linda Johnston Rohrbasser took part in the Asnes Expedition Amundsen challenge from February 27 to March 1, and were bidding to be the first female Great British team to complete the race.

The determined trio got so near to conquering the daunting against-the-clock 100km trek across the Hardangervidda Plateau in Norway – covering more than 70km in 48 of the allotted 60 hours before dangerous weather conditions forced them to retire.

While they couldn’t quite make it to the finish line, the fab three all raised considerable funds for their chosen charities, with Roisin smashing her £1,000 target by clocking up more than £4,000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Roisin, who is a GP at The Clift Surgery, in Bramley, and her team-mates trained for 18 months for the challenge which saw them back country ski with a 40kg fully-packed sled – following in the footsteps of the legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

The scale of the challenge facing the trio and the other entrants was summed up on the event organiser’s website which states: “Asnes Expedition Amundsen is an expedition race like no other. Solo or part of a team, this is a tough challenge. The Hardangervidda mountain plateau in February/March could appear beautiful and idyllic, but can quickly become dangerous and wild.”

Mother-of-three Roisin said: “We tried but ultimately Mother Nature threw a severe storm at us and we had to admit defeat at the very last checkpoint. Eighteen teams retired during the challenge, and we were the last of those teams to call it a day.

“It was the hardest decision ever to stop – we were gutted – but we made the right call. Another team carried on and became hypothermic. They had to camp out on the mountain, and thankfully were rescued.”

Roisin added: “It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am so proud to have achieved what we did with the most fantastic inspirational ladies – and we have all agreed that we are going to give it another try next year.”

Roisin, 46, said she, Jo and Linda, both 50, are all grateful to family and friends for their great support, and are delighted to have raised so much for each of their good causes. Jo, who is a tax partner at Ernst Young, raised funds for meningitis charity Life for a Cure, while Linda, a paediatrician, supported Care in Action, a charity that focuses on changing the lives of vulnerable children..

Merv Rees, Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee and liver cancer surgeon, said: “Well done to Roisin and her fellow team members for getting so far on this daunting challenge – an amazing achievement – and everyone at Ark is grateful for Roisin’s wonderful support. She absolutely smashed her fundraising target.”

Ark is raising £5million to fund supportive care and services, complementary therapies, and an enhanced environment for cancer patients and their loved ones within a NHS cancer treatment centre at Basingstoke hospital.

Roisin's fundraising page is still open so if anyone wishes to make a donation, they can do so at  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roisin-ward2

Picture caption: Roisin, left, with Jo, centre, and Linda, flew the flag for Ark Cancer Centre Charity on the epic challenge.