Stowmarket nurse on North Pole trek

STOWMARKET nurse, Fizzy Lillingston is swapping the cosy life of a health surgery to take part in an epic journey where she will face polar bears and battle temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees.

By JESSICA NICHOLLS, health reporter

jessica.nicholls@eveningstar.co.uk>

STOWMARKET nurse, Fizzy Lillingston is swapping the cosy life of a health surgery to take part in an epic journey where she will face polar bears and battle temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees.

The mother of three is about to embark on a challenge of a lifetime when she takes up the role of medical officer on the first stage of an expedition to two north poles.

As well as achieving something many people can only dream about she is also helping to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

It is a subject close to her heart after she lost two friends to breast cancer last year and also has other friends affected by the disease.

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Ski-ing is the nearest she has been to arctic conditions and she sent off the application almost as a joke, but next month the practice nurse from Combs Ford Surgery will be a key part of a team backing amateur and lead explorer Jim McNeill from Berkshire.

Her job will be making sure all of the 12-strong team stay well enough to complete the expedition and establish five world records.

Mrs Lillingston, 44, will be making sure everyone is fit and healthy before and during the expedition, dealing with any injuries, infections or even frostbite.

She read about the project called Ice Warrior early last year and sent in her CV.

Mrs Lillingston from Eye said: "I didn't think anymore about it until Jim sent me an email inviting me to take part in the selection process.

"Although I am a keen outward bounder and love the outdoors, ski-ing was the nearest I have ever got to anything like this so I was very surprised to be chosen.

"Since last May the Ice Warrior expedition has taken over my life. I still can't believe I am going.

Expedition leader Mr McNeill, hopes to earn himself a place in history alongside legendary explorers Scott and Shackleton by breaking five records.

Mr McNeill aims to become the first person ever to reach the Arctic Pole, solo and unsupported and the first Briton ever to walk solo and unaided to the Geographic North Pole.

He also wants to be the first man in history to achieve it from the Canadian side and the first man to reach all four North Poles (the Arctic, the Magnetic, the Geomagnetic and the Geographic Poles).

The first part of the expedition will see Mrs Lillingston and the remainder of the support team stationed at Base Camp on the most northerly shores of Canada while Jim treks alone to the Arctic Pole. Various psychological, physiological and equipment tests will be conducted at Base Camp.

The team is hoping to return to the UK in April to prepare for the second stage of their expedition in December 2003

WEBLINK: www.cancerresearchuk.org

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