Carwyn Jones has thrown his full backing behind an ambitious, Welsh-inspired world first record attempt to cross the Greenland Ice Cap.
Army veteran Peter Bowker, from Connah’s Quay, is attempting to become the first amputee ever to ski the 600km crossing unsupported. He is in a team of six, along with three fellow Welshmen, including team doctor, Dr Meinir Jones, from Pontardawe, and Richard Morgan, from Neath.
The project known as 65 Degrees North is due to set off in May and will take up to a month to complete depending on weather conditions.
At an official launch at the Senedd in Cardiff, hosted by actors Charles Dale and Amanda Mealing, the First Minister of Wales said he was truly inspired by the project.
“When I read the briefing for the project it struck me that the amount of planning, determination, stamina and strength needed for this expedition is truly remarkable,” he said.
“I know the expedition will experience temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, the threat of fatigue and polar bears. What’s important is to demonstrate to other people and society at large is that where individuals face difficulties they can be overcome and that the human spirit is unbreakable.”
Added Mr Jones: “I am amazed at the amount of planning that has gone into this project. I am amazed at the determination that is being shown and I have to say I am amazed at the sheer stamina which is going to be displayed.
“The expedition has the best wishes of the people of Wales behind it. We are very proud this is a project that is Welsh led. It is a project that was conceived in Wales and it will be an inspiration to those of us living in Wales.
“As far as all of the Welsh assembly is concerned we all wish the project the best of Welsh luck.”
A former Queen’s Dragoon Guard who lost part of his right leg in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan Peter said: “I am humbled by the support that has been generated for this mission.
“But it’s all about giving something back and all proceeds from the mission will be going to Help for Heroes”
Patrons of the mission include actor Ross Kemp, Major General Andy Keeling CB CBE, Judge Mr Huw Rees and weather girl Sian Lloyd. The project also has the backing of the Royal Foundation and Endeavour Fund.
Sponsor of the Senedd event Bethan Jenkins, AM for the South West Region, said: “This a fantastic and ambitious project, but knowing the determination of the people who are involved, I am very confident that Peter and the team are going to achieve all their aims.”