Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Father and son reach South Pole

Matt and Kevin Gaskell
Matt and Kevin Gaskell left the UK on Boxing Day

A Welsh businessman and his son have completed an 186 mile (300km) trek to the South Pole to raise money for a north Wales cancer centre.

Kevin Gaskell, 50, who grew up in Connah's Quay in Flintshire, and 18-year-old Matt, were part of a seven-man team who reached the pole on Wednesday.

They pair, who live in Newbury, Berkshire, set off from the Patriot Hills base in Antarctica on 5 January.

They are raising money for a cancer treatment centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Mr Gaskell's sister Jayne Strong from Rhyl, died in 2004 at the age of 44 after being treated at the hospital for myeloid leukaemia.

The adventurers, who left their home on 26 December, had given themselves a month to complete the arduous journey.

We are going to have a look/walk/tour round the South Pole Station then we will get some food and a cup of tea then rest for the night
Alan Chambers' message on the website

News of their success was posted on the team's website by another member, Alan Chambers.

Mr Gaskell and his son hope the trek will raise 40,000, with the money being divided between the cancer centre at Glan Clwyd and the rest to the Leukaemia Research charity.

He has previously raised 80,000 for the centre by walking to the North Pole.

The team had been in training for the expedition for more than a year and practising by dragging their own sledges with no support from dogs or kites.

A few days ago, it was reported that they were struggling in white out conditions and most of the team had been suffering from altitude sickness.

Full update

In his website message posted early on Wednesday, Mr Chambers said: "We arrived at the South Pole two hours ago - everybody is fine. We are getting checked over by a doctor and everything at the station.

"We are going to have a look/walk/tour round the South Pole Station then we will get some food and a cup of tea then rest for the night. We are flying back to Patriot Hills tomorrow.

"So we have all arrived at the South Pole safe, fit and very, very happy and now looking forward to the journey home. Will give a full update tomorrow once it is normal UK hours, but all safe and sound at the South Pole."

Before they left the UK, Mr Gaskell, president of an automotive data firm, said he believed they would be the first father and son team to successfully complete the trek.

"My son also got in touch with the Guinness Book of Records and they confirmed to him that he would be the youngest person to walk there but it won't count because he's not leaving from a designated point."

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