Mum June battles -20C on to raise money for Samaritans

PUBLISHED: 06:34 03 March 2017

June Connor on arctic challenge

June Connor on arctic challenge

Archant

An Ottery woman, who battled Arctic conditions as low as minus 20C, has helped to raise £7,500 for the Samaritans.

June Connor (front of bike) on arctic challenge with friend Carlie HopperJune Connor (front of bike) on arctic challenge with friend Carlie Hopper

June Connor was one of six volunteers from the Exeter and East Devon area to travel to Sweden to take on a week-long survival challenge in aid of the local branch.

The 54-year-old spoke of the ‘physical challenges’ of digging snow holes, cross-country skiing and driving huskies, as well as navigating the freezing conditions.

June said: “I do not even do camping. I cannot believe I did this, I really can’t. When I took it on I would think ‘what am I doing?’.

“It was a big deal for me, I’m not a very sporty or outdoorsy sort of person and it was quite physically challenging. I did go to the gym for a bit to get as fit as I could.

“We pretty much need the money to keep up our local building going and all the facilities and the things we do. The money is essential to keep going.”

The mother-of-two works for Sanctuary Supported Living, which supports people who at risk of homelessness but has been a Samaritan at the Exeter and East Devon branch for a decade. She was inspired to join after reading an article in a newspaper and attended an open evening at the Exeter branch.

June said: “They were looking for volunteers, I thought you had to have a lot of knowledge and expertise but it explained that Samaritans its about listening to people and not giving advice. I thought maybe I could do that and I threw my hat in the ring.”

The team’s efforts have been praised by Helen Crossfield, director of the Exeter Mid and East Devon branch. She added: “Everyone at the local Samaritans is in awe of what the team did. Apparently there wasn’t a lot of sleep as no one was familiar with this kind of environment, nor with sleeping in a group, so it was a challenge in every sense of the word - and a fantastic thing to do”


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