North pole rugby challenger returns to warmth of home
An arctic explorer has returned home to Suffolk having trekked to the top of the world and set a world record for the most northerly rugby match ever played.
Paul Jordan’s achievement was made all the more impressive by his recovery from a major stroke five years ago.
The 48-year-old is now back at home in Melton following a trek to the Magnetic North Pole with 10 other charity challengers.
He said: “It was great to get back and see the family. It took a while for my body clock to readjust but it was worth it for having done something so epic and to have raised a lot of money for charity.”
The climax of the journey was setting a Guinness World Record for the most northerly rugby match in history, with former internationals Tim Stimpson and Ollie Phillips in the line-up.
The Arctic Rugby Challenge set out to raise more than £300,000 for children’s charity Wooden Spoon.
Mr Jordan, who has raised more almost £50,000 towards the total, said: “I spent some time at a children’s hospital in Cardiff during our training, so to see where the money goes was fantastic.”
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Former England hooker Lee Mears also flew in to be the official match referee for the challengers’ world record, played on a pitch marked out in the ice with lightweight posts. The match ended with TeamTim beating Mr Jordan’s TeamOllie 17-14.
Before the trek, Mr Jordan set himself another challenge of being the only player to line up wearing shorts – a challenge he was brave enough to accomplish in -20C temperatures.
Despite being one of the more senior members of the expedition, Mr Jordan said he was pleased to have made some big tackles during the match. He was helped in training by Jay Close, of TheBarn300 in Grundisburgh.
Since his stroke, Mr Jordan has scaled the Cuillin ridge on the Isle of Skye, walked across Scotland and played a round of golf in a breakneck 53 minutes to set a club record at Ufford Park. He hopes to climb Everest and trek the opposite pole in the next few years.
“When I had a stoke in August 2010, imagining something like this trek was out of my mind,” he said. “At times I was wondering whether or not I was going to live.
“I still get daily headaches and numbness down one side when I get tired but I would declare myself about 90% fit.”
So far, Mr Jordan has raised almost £50,000 for Wooden Spoon. You can still sponsor him by visiting justgiving.com/arcticjordy.