From Africa to Antarctica

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), December 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

From Africa to Antarctica


Byline: By Craig Hope

Honorary village chief sets out for new trek

An African chief from Tyneside will be swapping his tribal head-dress for a fur-lined hat on a trek across the Antarctic.

Adventure-loving Chief Torgbui Mottey I, also known as John Lawler, will set off on the expedition next year and weather conditions will be a stark contrast to those in Ghana where the Newcastle entrepreneur is an honorary chief.

John, 31, from Baltic Quay, Gateshead, is no stranger to foreign expeditions and he will be hoping for better luck than he had in 2003, when a series of disasters forced him to abandon a 4,500-mile charity drive across Africa.

John caught malaria, and he and fellow travellers narrowly missed a bomb attack in Casablanca, just avoided being caught up in a military coup in Mauritania in north west Africa, became separated in the African bush, crashed in the Mali desert and sold most of their belongings to pay off police.

He said: "It was scary in places but that's half the buzz. This time I don't expect any military coups but the weather can be very unpredictable, it might be quite hair-raising if the sea gets choppy.

"It will be a mental challenge for me as well as a physical one, but I'm looking forward to it."

John will form part of an expedition led by Robert Swan OBE, believed to be the first man to have walked both the North and South Poles.

The trip aims to increase awareness of the Antarctic to schoolchildren before the launch of a live feed from the South Pole into classrooms around the world next year. …

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