Twickenham and Richmond Times

Polar bear attack

Twickenham's Polar Race 2003 competitor Manley Hopkinson was forced to take evasive action alongside team members Chris McLeod and Phil Ashby when a Polar bear stood in their path in the adventure trek.

The team fired five shots above the bear but it continued to move towards the racers. The bear was eventually scared off when the racers hit their ski sticks together to make a loud noise.

Race Organiser, Jock Wishart of Polar Adventures Ltd said: "They showed great presence of mind in dealing with what only can be described as a 'scary experience'. They did exactly as they had been instructed in their training.

"We must never forget that we are the intruders into the bear's environment and. They consider us as food and so every possible effort must be made to scare the bear away."

The Polar Race is the first race of its type in Arctic regions. The competitors who travel by foot and skis pulling sledges with supplies , will cover over 350 miles in four stages from Resolute Bay, Canada, to the North Magnetic Pole.

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2:25pm Friday 25th April 2003

And intial story………………

Barnes broker sets off for North Pole

By Ian Nott

A FINANCIAL BROKER who works in Barnes is taking a break from negotiating deals for customers to face the possibility of wrangles with hungry polar bears when he competes in a 400-mile race to the North Pole.

Father-of-two, Steven East, aged 39, of Walton-on-Thames, will endure temperatures of minus 50 degrees celsius in one of the world's most desolate places, to take part in the Polar Race in April.

The adventure will raise funds for Kingston Hospital's neo-natal unit, where his second child received treatment.

Up to 45 competitors will test their endurance to the limit on the trek, which will be televised on the Discovery Channel early next year.

Teams will be given the same standard equipment by race organisers, which will have to be pulled on a sled, on foot or on skis.

If all goes well it will be the first time a human team has ever reached the North Pole without the help of machinery or dogs.

They will set off from Resolute Bay, on the south side of Cornwallis Island in Canada.

In order to be selected Steven was put through his paces in gruelling physical and psychometric tests alongside experienced adventurers.

Although he has never taken part in anything like this before he told the Times, training had made him aware this was a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge.

One week into the trip, the teams will be in constant daylight, which will make it hard to sleep. But Steven is only worried about the possibility of injury and the monotony of the food.

He said: "Part of the challenge is how the human body and mind cope in these conditions. "The reason for going is that I would love to repay Kingston Hospital for giving us two lovely healthy children. I will be raising funds for Kingston Hospital's Born too Soon charity for the premature baby unit. My second child had the benefit of their care. She was there for nearly a week."

The trip is self-funded, and Steven was told to find £18,000 if he wanted take part. He has already collected £6,000 but is still looking for sponsorship from local companies. In return for donations he has promised to display company logos on his equipment so they might be seen on the television during the month long race.

Most of the money has to be spent on two rescue flights even if they are not used. To sponsor Steven, call him on 01932 228 773. or email

3:46pm Friday 20th December 2002