07:38PM, Saturday 21 February 2015
A film producer from Windsor is bidding to make history as he prepares to travel to the Magnetic North Pole to take part in the most northerly rugby match ever played.
Julian Phelan, 40, a lifelong Windsor resident and Windsor RFC stalwart, will be taking part in the Arctic Rugby Challenge event to support Wooden Spoon, the children's charity of rugby.
He will be joining a group of challengers including former Rugby Union international Tim Stimpson and former England sevens rugby captain Ollie Phillips.
Renowned polar explorer Jock Wishart will lead the challengers as they brave the elements in April in an attempt to raise £300,000 for Wooden Spoon.
Former British Lions and England player Lee Mears is also set to referee the game in the Arctic.
Julian was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after his friend, Colm Hannon, told him that England legend Tim Stimpson was looking for someone to film the project.
"I soon realised that to get to film the project I would have to go too and if I was going I might as well join as a challenger," said Julian.
"Rugby is a sport where everyone looks after each other.
"It gave me so much and I had a wonderful experience to go around the world playing on tours. This is a chance to give something back," he added.
The Princess Royal pledged her support by handing Julian the flag poles for the match at a reception in London on Monday.
A fundraiser for the event, which is being supported by UNIBET and Windsor Vehicle Leasing, will be held at Royal Windsor Racecourse on Friday, March 13.
The Racecourse will be screening every race from Cheltenham Gold Cup Day with punters able to watch from the owner and trainers marquee.
Competitors from the Arctic Challenge event will be attending the race day and Julian hopes they will be joined by players from London Irish and students from the HITZ programme, a group supported by Wooden Spoon.
The HITZ programme aims to use rugby to give young people confidence across the UK and help them get back into education and employment.
London Irish currently runs two HITZ rugby sessions for young people in Berkshire as well as providing an education project based at the West Wing Arts Centre in Slough.
"The idea is that people contributing to the sponsorship get to see what their money goes towards," said Julian.
Tickets for the Arctic Challenge fundraiser cost £30 and can only be bought in advance. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
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