‘Brrrrr-onkers’ Manchester fundraiser on Arctic world record-breaking rugby match

A Manchester solicitor admitted his world record-breaking achievement will live long in his memory for some time after celebrating the achievement at Wooden Spoon’s Rugby Ball.

Back on April 29 Andrew Walker, an Associate Solicitor at Eversheds LLP as well as a player for Wilmslow RFC, joined former international rugby stars Tim Stimpson and Ollie Phillips in trekking over 60 miles to the Magnetic North Pole.

There the 28-year-old experienced temperatures as low as minus 30C in a bid to create a Guinness World Record for the northernmost rugby match in history.

Walker was part of Team Tim who beat Team Ollie 17-14, and the two sides reunited on Friday evening at the star-studded Rugby Ball, Wooden Spoon’s annual flagship event.

And while he was on the victorious side, Walker insists that raising over £200,000 for Wooden Spoon meant that all who took part were winners.

“It’s good to be at the Wooden Spoon Rugby Ball, I’ve not seen the guys in a couple of months,” Walker said.

“Some guys I’ve seen more recently than others but it’s good to be back together under the Spoon umbrella, and this is usually a really good event so it’s an opportunity to raise a huge amount of cash.

“It was tough getting to there, hard work in terms of getting myself fit. I had an ankle operation this time last year so I had to come back from that.

“The other element of hard work was obviously the fund raising. So we dedicated weekends to getting fit and raising money, so I didn’t have a lot of time to myself for six months.

“It was absolutely 100 per cent worth it though, and we were all well enough prepared to make it all the way there.

“It was exhausting physically and mentally. Fortunately we were well prepared and had the best gear and equipment too. So it was a case of us switching on mentally for what was to come.

“You couldn’t really imagine what it was like until you got there. I remember getting off the plane when we were dumped up there, it was effectively the frozen sea, got off the plane and we couldn’t see anything other than white as far as the eye could see.”

Also in attendance on Friday night at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge was 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Phil Vickery.

And while the former England and British & Irish Lions prop is no stranger to putting his body on the line for Wooden Spoon, he admits he has to tip his hat to the efforts of Walker.

“They’re bonkers,” Vickery said. “I’ve done a few challenges for Wooden Spoon, I’ve done Land’s End to Twickenham on a bike, I’ve done the four peaks in 48 hours with Maggie, which nearly killed me!

“But what the guys did with that was fantastic, not just the fact of raising the money to be able to do it in the first place, but then the training that went into it.

“It’s done a huge amount for Wooden Spoon with raising awareness, and that’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby. Please get involved and together we can change children’s lives through the power of rugby. #wearerugby

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