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Katharine steps out on a new frontier.

Byline: Adam Aspinall

Katharine Gray prefers the warmth of foreign climes to the chill of a British winter.

She hates the cold so much she admits she may suffer from seasonal affective disorder and will do anything to escape Jack Frost's bite, be it sailing off the coast of Australia or horse riding in Portugal.

All of which makes her decision to embark on a 200kilometre Arctic dog sledding challenge in temperatures approaching minus 15C all the stranger. She is undergoing the gruelling journey to raise money to help children and adults with movement disabilities at Birmingham's Foundation for Conductive Education in Moseley.

The foundation teaches children and adults with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, stroke, head injury and multiple sclerosis how to overcome their movement problems and helps them find the selfconfidence and motivation to lead more independent lives.

Katharine, aged 36, from Harborne, who runs a Christian dating service - Friends First UK - spent time at the foundation and was impressed by their work.

She said: 'I think it's fantastic to be able to help and I understand people have given so much to the tsunami appeal, but this is a local charity for local children.

Director of fundraising for the foundation, Lesley Peat, said: 'What Katharine is doing is fantastic. We run treks throughout the year, but this one is a real challenge.'

Katharine was motivated to take on the challenge after she read an article on this year's Arctic Trekking Challenge in the summer.

She said: 'I was in Norway last summer and that, combined with reading Jack London's Call of the Wild, whetted my appetite for the trip.'

The book is based on Buck, a sledge dog in the Klondike, and his personal journey of self-transformation. The trek starts in Oslo on February 12 where Katharine will be joined by nine other volunteers from around the country.

She has already raised over pounds 1,700 to date and would welcome further donations to help her reach her goal of pounds 3,000.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the expedition, can contact Lesley Peat on 0121 449 1569.

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Katharine Gray: raising money for Birmingham's Foundation for Conductive Education in Moseley
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 19, 2005
Words:371
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