Charity ball to be held to boost man’s South Pole mission

John Dennis
John Dennis
Hayling Island Lions member Rod Elliott outside Tesco, Station Road, Hayling Island

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DEDICATED John Dennis is on track to tackle a trek across Antarctica and he has organised a charity ball to give his mission a boost.

The determined 40-year-old hopes to raise £50,000 for a charity he set up called Dare 2 Express, which helps people with mental illnesses.

John, a design consultant, will undertake an unassisted solo trek to the South Pole in December, inspired by his own experiences after being diagnosed with depression in 2013.

He said he underwent a torturous time reconciling his perceptions of what being a man meant, with how he was feeling. But with the support of his family, he eventually came to terms with his illness and saw an opportunity to help others facing a similar problem.

As part of the fundraising for the charity, John is hosting a lavish ball on Friday, October 9, and he encouraged people to come along and show their support.

The father-of-two from Bishop’s Waltham said: ‘Initially we had more than 250 people signed up to this event but numbers have dropped since.

‘I hope that people will come and show their support, and have a good time.’

John, of Victoria Road, was meant to embark on his expedition last year but had to postpone it due to problems with funding and health concerns.

But he has overcome these problems and has set up his own charity, which he is in the process of registering.

He said: ‘It’s in progress but we have everything ready to go. It has been a stressful experience but I hope it will be worth it in the end.’

He completed training in Norway earlier this year, where he did a 16-day solo tour which saw him cover 190 miles while carrying 143lb.

His South Pole expedition will see him cover 730 miles in 37 days – the equivalent of walking 28 back-to-back marathons.

The charity ball starts at 7pm at the Hilton Hotel, Ageas Bowl, in Hedge End. Tickets cost £65 per person, which includes a three-course meal with wine, as well as music from band Rufus Stone.

There will also be a sealed bid and an auction. To find out more, go to expedition-d2e.org/ball, email ball@dare2express.org or call 02081 333 564.