Asa's cool job of a lifetime

IF YOU think it is cold now that winter is approaching, spare a thought for Asa Downing, who is about to embark on a three-month trip to Antarctica.Despite the risks of hypothermia and frost bite, the 24-year-old, of Kitchener Road, north west Ipswich, leapt at the chance of going to the coldest place in the world to carry out some vital work.

IF YOU think it is cold now that winter is approaching, spare a thought for Asa Downing, who is about to embark on a three-month trip to Antarctica.

Despite the risks of hypothermia and frost bite, the 24-year-old, of Kitchener Road, north west Ipswich, leapt at the chance of going to the coldest place in the world to carry out some vital work.

Mr Downing, an on-site electrician for Environ, volunteered to leave England at the end of November to carry out electrical testing as part of a contract with the British Antarctic Survey.

He has also promised to write a diary for The Evening Star readers to tell you all about his adventures.

Whereas many would quiver at the thought of surviving in such extreme temperatures, Mr Downing is looking forward to all the snowbound activities he intends to try, given the number of daylight hours.

He said: “I heard about this trip the company were offering to Antarctica and I thought it was something I couldn't turn down.

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“It is one of those places that you just can't turn down as you never really hear of people going there. I have travelled quite a bit to places like Canada and Dubai but nowhere like this before.

“We will have to work 38 hours a week but there is 24 hours of daylight there at the moment so I am looking forward to skiing, rock climbing and other activities like that.”

He will be accompanied on the trip by another employee at the firm, Jason Faulkner from Bishops Stortford.

Mr Downing added: “At the moment, the weather isn't too bad-it's between five degrees and minus five degrees. They are supplying all our specialist clothing. It will take some getting use to but I am looking forward to it.”

Are you doing something amazing for work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Antarctica is the most southerly continent located about the Geographic South Pole, the southern point of the Earth's rotational axis.

It is the fifth largest of the world's 7 continents but was not sighted until 1820

No people lived in Antarctica until 1897 when the first explorers established a winter-over station. There are now more than 60 bases situated all over the continent and operated by several nations. The bases are primarily oriented to scientific research.

The lowest ever temperature on Earth, -91C, was recorded in Antarctica in 1997

HOW WILL THEY GET THERE?

Getting there will be quite an experience as the Royal Air Force will be flying them from Brize Norton, near Oxford, to Ascension Island, in the south Atlantic ocean.

They will stop to refuel and then head to the Falklands for another stop and across to Antarctica from there.

They will be staying on Adelaide Island, which is on the Antarctica peninsula.

It is expected to take 18 hours, though they could stop for longer at the Falkland Islands if the weather is too bad to make the final leg of the journey.