Thursday, 12 February 2009

Griswold Gives Back

Good Friend of Smalltown America and Dangerfields stalwart, Andrew Griswold, has just sent us word on his next project. When Andrew isn't rocking it out behind the drum kit, He's a journalist for The Belfast Newsletter and an active supporter of various charities. We at Smalltown HQ urge you to dig deep to help Andrew out on something that is not only very brave and ambitious but also for a suitably deserving cause. We'll let Andrew take it from here...

On March 22, 2009, I will be flying from Belfast to Alta in the far north of Norway to raise money for Mencap by husky sledding across 200 kilometres of Arctic wilderness.

Call me crazy, but I believe life is too short not to be! I'm halfway through my fundraising. I need to raise a total of £4,500 for Mencap. I'm paying for my own airport taxes and insurance, and of course the gym hours it has taken to whip me into some sort of shape. But I still need to raise around £2,000.This, hopefully, is where you come in! I am appealing to you, as a friend, colleague, bandmate or someone whose event I have covered, to pledge any amount of money you can afford. From one quid to 100 – it all helps. Here are the ways to pay:

• Cheque or postal order Payable to Mencap Promotions Ltd

Please email me at a[dot]johnston1973[at]gmail[dot]com for my postal address

• Cash Phone me on 077 3823 9653 to arrange a meet-up

• PayPal Send to a[dot]johnston1973[at]gmail[dot]com

• Bank transfer Please email me for my bank account details

Every penny is forwarded directly to Mencap. However, you should be aware that a minor percentage of the money raised is taken by them to cover the costs of the trip. But the majority goes to funding Mencap's essential campaigns.

Mencap, established in 1946, is the UK's leading learning disability charity, working with people with a learning disability and their families and caregivers. Mencap fights for equal rights, campaigns for greater opportunities and challenges attitudes and prejudice. More information on Mencap can be found here.

The Husky Sled Challenge takes in the forests of Souluvombi, the mountainous terrain of Mollisjock and the frozen Jiesavri Lake, as well as stop-offs at a 'Viking sauna' in Maze and the Gargia Ice Hotel, all the while feeding and caring for our own team of dogs. A full itinerary of the trip can be found here.

The event is billed as physically demanding, and for those with a thirst for adventure. Now that the Dangerfields are on hiatus I definitely fit the bill!

One of last year's participants, Clare O'Shea, has described the experience as "the closest [she] will ever come to walking on the moon". Clare spoke of "snow as far as the eye can see, rolling over humps and hollows with not a tree in sight".

Even Richard Hammond has tried husky sledding – not for charity, but for the Top Gear Polar Special, in which he raced a team of dogs to the North Pole against Jeremy Clarkson and James May in a Toyota Hilux. The Hamster lost, but he had a lot of fun and the dogs did exceptionally well.

For me, this is a true challenge. I hope to push the boundaries of what I am capable of, and perhaps gain some insight into the daily trials faced by people with disabilities.
I'll be writing about the experience upon my return, for the Belfast News Letter and on my MySpace and Facebook blogs. Everyone who pledges money will receive a namecheck and my thanks in print.

Your support is greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,

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