Eyeing up frost fight

Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26a)
Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26a)

Former boxer Dermot Gascoyne is used to going toe-to-toe with British heavyweight legends Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.

But, after hanging up his gloves a decade ago, the 43-year-old is preparing himself for an even bigger challenge.

Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26b)

Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26b)

He will front a team of current and former athletes who will be taking four teenagers to the North Pole.

Father-of-three Dermot said he was looking forward to braving the arctic conditions.

He added: “We will be challenging the kids on what it will be like to work as a team, if they can show effort, commitment, discipline and self control.”

“We want to see if they can demonstrate that in a harsh environment.”

Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26c)

Former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne is taking a group of children on a trek to the North Pole (w110314-26c)

“It’s not a holiday, it will be really tough, our programme has us walking 120 kilometres over a five day period.”

“The idea is to push and challenge these kids to give them a sense of self worth and discover something about themselves. That’s the plan and hopefully if all goes well, we’ll have a couple more extreme challenges lined up.”

Dermot, from Beech Avenue, runs a sports mentoring organisation called Step Up Now and has plans of bringing the challenges to schools in Worksop.

“I want to challenge kids to be the best they can be.”

“You might not be fantastic at speaking French, but if you can be reliable, if you turn up on time, if you’re hard working and if you can be determined, you can be part of a winning team.”

“There’s so much our education system misses out on because there is such an emphasis on the academic.”

“I think personal development is really important, for kids at 16-years-old to be able to leave school and say ‘I might not have six GCSEs but I’ve been to the North Pole’.”

“For me that’s the most exciting thing, to see what we can bring out of these kids,” he said.

Other dare devils include former Welsh rugby player Chris Horsman and explorer Alan Chambers MBE - the first person to get to the pole unsupported – will be the exhibition leader.

Dermot boasts 41 wins in 47 fights before a dislodged disc in his neck called time on his career in the ring.

“I ran out of time in the other six,” he joked.

And, he has hopes of going even further, with plans to sail around Great Britain and trek across the Sahara desert.

The team fly out to Oslo on Thursday 24th March and will spend five days battling the elements.

“I’ve been training since Christmas and the kids have been going since October.”

“It’s been going really well, I’m doing 10 miles a day on the treadmill, weights and getting on the punch bag, so I’m feeling up for it.”

“What I’m looking forward to in this challenge, is being part of a team,” he said.