The Challengers

Introducing...Captain of Team Ollie

Ollie Phillips

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Ollie Phillips is the former England 7s, Gloucester and Stade Francais winger who is no stranger to big adventures.                                                                                  

Since injury forced his retirement, he has completed the gruelling Clipper sailing race around the Atlantic in the Great Britain team. Between 2004 and 2009, Ollie  appeared in 17 World Series tournaments, captaining the side in 2008-09 when they clinched a first Wellington Sevens title and followed that by winning the London crown.

Phillips, educated at Brighton College and Durham University, was duly voted the IRB's World Player of the Year that season.

SPONSOR OLLIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Ollie Players

David Mercer

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LMAX Exchange - "No. 1 Fastest Growing Tech Company in the UK" - Sunday Times Tech Track 100.

David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange, the world's only FCA regulated MTF for FX trading, is excited to be a part of this unique challenge, and the incredible opportunity of stretching himself both physically and mentally.

Wooden Spoon is David's preferred charity, as it helps make a real difference to the lives of young people and he is committed to raising significant funds for Wooden Spoon, he has also committed LMAX Exchange to support the challenge and charity, as a lead sponsor. A team player from his amateur rugby days and throughout his business career, he's sure his leadership ability will help motivate the team if need be.

SPONSOR DAVID

 

 Paul Jordan

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Paul Jordan is an EMEAR Regional Manager at Cisco. He kept out of trouble as a back playing Rugby from schoolboy level through to Senior Level for over 20 years.

Post retirement, he enjoys climbing, trekking, skiing and has taken on many challenges in the last few years including the Great Glen Way, the Cuillin Ridge on Skye and climbing in Yosemite Valley in California. His son is currently involved with Northampton Saints on a development program and already thinks he is better than his Dad. Paul has a fascination with the great British Explorers and wants to ultimately reach both poles and the Summit of Everest.

SPONSOR PAUL

 
 
 
 

Fergus Davidson

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Having recently graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Geography, Fergus is now working in the Hedge Fund Industry in London.

Prior to this Fergus lived in Edinburgh and played for Edinburgh Accies U20s. It was during this gap year that he spent some time in South Africa and Swaziland, where he was lucky enough to meet the guys running Skrum and be involved in some of their work. Fergus was educated in Scotland at Glenalmond College where for him, rugby very much took priority over academic work and just about everything else.

SPONSOR FERGUS

 
 

Steven Turnbull

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Steven Turnbull is the General Manager for Everything4Rugby. He is a retired professional rugby player and played for Edinburgh Rugby from 2007 to 2013.

Steve suffered many injuries throughout his career before finally having to succumb to a knee injury . Having always loved sport and rugby, Steve continues to stay involved as much as he can by running summer camps for children and coaching Edinburgh University First XV. At Everything4Rugby, Steve works at providing support to grassroots rugby clubs, players and fans across the UK & Ireland.

SPONSOR STEVEN

 

 

 

Trek Leader

Jock Wishart

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Jock Wishart has established an international reputation as a leading adventurer and sportsman. Within the space of 18 months during 1997-99, he rowed across the Atlantic in his Mount Gay Rum sponsored rowing boat, led the crew which established fifteen new world speed records for powered circumnavigation in the Cable and Wireless Adventurer and captained the team that broke the London to Paris rowing record in the CNA Maritime Challenge. To date, he is the only man to have walked unsupported to a Pole and rowed across an ocean.

A lifetime interest in polar exploration led him in 1992 to honing his pioneering spirit as a member of the first team to walk unsupported to the Geomagnetic North Pole. Four years later, he organised The Ultimate Challenge, the first ever televised trek to the Magnetic North Pole, an expedition that consisted largely of novice explorers.

In 2000 he led the BT Lumina sponsored expedition “Shackleton’s Steps”, which replicated, for a TV documentary, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s traverse of South Georgia in May 1916. One of the world’s leading yacht navigators, in August 2001 he was navigator on board the American yacht “Freedom”, which won the 12-metre World Championship in Cowes during the America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta. In 2003 he conceived and organised the first ever Polar Race: a race for teams on ski or foot from Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada to the Magnetic North Pole. The Polar Race is now a biennial event.

Introducing...Captain of Team Tim

Tim Stimpson

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Tim Stimpson is a former rugby union international full back. During his career he played for Wakefield, West Hartlepool, Newcastle Falcons,Leicester Tigers, Perpignan, Leeds Tykes, Nottingham, England and the British & Irish Lions.

He went on the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa. In the 2001 Heineken Cup Final against Stade Français he converted Leon Lloyd’s last minute try from the right-hand touchline—the most difficult position to kick a conversion from for a right-footed kicker, to take the match 34–30 to Leicester. In 2003 Stimpson signed and moved to France after the 2003 World Cup, with Tigers releasing him from his contract. In 2004 he returned to England to play for Leeds Tykes.

He decided to retire from playing for Leeds Tykes to pursue a career in coaching in January 2006. A graduate of Durham University, Tim now runs a business called Sporting Partnerships FS where 'our qualified advisors offer excellent financial advice, and we donate 20% of our fees earned to help fund rugby clubs and charities'.

SPONSOR TIM

 
 
 

Team Tim Players

James Harding

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James Harding, Executive Director at award winning investment management firm Quilter Cheviot is also an Ambassador for Wooden Spoon.

James aims to create a ‘legacy achievement’ both personally and for Wooden Spoon by combining his skill and determination with this once in a lifetime opportunity to raise significant funds and awareness for Wooden Spoon. Rugby is an integral part of James’s life having played for Wasps in his youth and could more recently be seen playing for Wasps Legends when he should have been old enough to know better. He is delighted to bring Quilter Cheviot on board as a Corporate Partner.

SPONSOR JAMES   Read James's blog

 
 
 
 

Stephen Henry

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Stephen Henry works in the investment banking Industry and currently manages a swaps product control team at Deutsche bank.

Steve is personally and professionally motivated by challenges.  At a professional level Steve thrives in situations where he has complex problems to overcome and tight datelines to manage On a personal level  he relishes challenging himself physically and pushing himself to the limits competing in several ultramarathons, including the 250km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert. Having seen and experienced firsthand the positive impact sport in general and rugby in particular can have on children and thinking that Wooden Spoon does some amazing work  he has jumped at the chance to help raise funds for such a good cause.

SPONSOR STEVE   Read Steve's blog

 

Andy Walker

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Andrew Walker an Associate Solicitor at Eversheds LLP specialising in commercial real estate.

Andrew is a keen rugby player who has represented and captained a number of different rugby teams and clubs over the years, from Merchiston Castle School, to Dumfries RFC and to Wilmslow RFC. Andrew enjoys walking and has trekked across the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand, has participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Silver awards and is an advanced skier with 20 years experience. A team player with strong sporting background, Andrew is very driven, reliable and enthusiastic in the challenges he takes part in.

SPONSOR ANDREW

 

John Houston

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John played professional rugby for Edinburgh and Scotland 7s for seven years and gained 12 Scotland A caps.

He retired in 2014 due to a career ending neck injury. During his playing career John completed a Masters in Construction Project Management and coached at various levels, including Heriots RFC when they won the Scottish Cup in 2009. John now works as a Project Manager for Thomas & Adamson in Edinburgh and also a director and owner of Caledonia Log Homes Ltd which he helped his brother set up in 2011.He loves travelling and keeping fit, recently getting into CrossFit, road biking and yoga, and coaches an u’18 rugby team. John hopes to be able to say in future biographies that he has been to the North Pole!

SPONSOR JOHN

Julian Phelan

Julian co-owns an independent production company, producing documentaries for international markets. Julian is looking forward to capturing the epic trek on film as well as playing in #TeamTim.

Age 40, Julian has lived in Windsor all his life, and through playing rugby he has toured the world (including Australia/New Zealand). He captained at his university as a fresher and played for WASPSU21 & 2ndXV also representing Berkshire then Buckinghamshire, playing for many years in Windsor first team. He has also coached at the junior section of the club for over ten years and gained RFU coaching and refereeing certificates.

SPONSOR JULIAN

 

The Referee

Lee Mears

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Former England and British & Irish Lions player Lee Mears will also join the squad at the Pole as match referee. He is also Wooden Spoon Ambassador of Golf.

In 2005, Lee helped England win the 2005 Churchill Cup and in 2007 Lee Mears was selected in the England squad for the World Cup. His rugby fortunes developed from formative years with home town club Torquay Athletic minis and he has spent his entire senior playing career, dating back to 1998, in the colours of Bath Rugby, with whom he has completed a testimonial year. His chosen charities included the Wooden Spoon. Before heading to the frozen north, Lee will need to complete his match official certification.

SPONSOR LEE