Twenty British women and 7,000 Penguins head for the North Pole; People & Business

Lucy Roberts, former author of this esteemed diary column and part-time marathon runner, is about to walk to the North Pole.

Ms Roberts is part of a 20-strong group of British women who are taking part in the McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay. Five teams of four will take it in turn to walk set distances between northern Canada and the North Pole, and Ms Roberts is part of the group which will reach the final destination, Union Jack in hand.

The first team leaves for training in Resolute Bay, Canada, this weekend. The participants were selected from more than 60 applicants who had to undergo two weekends of gruelling "SAS-style training," including one on Dartmoor.

"It was a hideous experience," recalls Ms Roberts, currently employed by Lighting Design International, a domestic lighting company.

"After each squad has completed its allotted distance, it will be picked up by plane and the next lot starts. We're making history - we will be the first British women to get to the North Pole," says our intrepid explorer.

One American woman and one Japanese woman made it in mixed teams, but they had dogs to pull them.

"We will have skis and 150-pound sleds. The wind chill factor will take the temperature down to about minus 70, so it'll be pretty cold," she says.

The main sponsor is McVitie's, which has provided 7,000 Penguin bars for the women. This is despite the fact that there are no live penguins anywhere near the North Pole. "We all have to eat four bars a day," says Ms Roberts.

Another sponsor is Damart, which will supply vital thermal underwear for the party.

Isn't Ms Roberts worried about losing fingers and toes to frostbite? "Not at all. I'll do whatever it takes to get to the North Pole," she replies indomitably. When she gets there at the end of May, weather permitting, she's off to do a leg of the Tour de France. I'm off to the pub.

Richard Compton-Burnett has left NM Rothschild after nine years to join hi-tech corporate finance boutique NewMedia Investors. In fact corner shop might be a more accurate description - it's just him and the firm's founder, Tom Teichman.

Hungarian-born Mr Teichman launched the business when he resigned last May from Maid, the on-line information business he helped to found. Mr Teichman is also a founder shareholder of the Pelican restaurant chain.

Mr Compton-Burnett, 35, is a relative of the late Ivy Compton-Burnett, the famous author. "I've spent quite a lot of time recently promoting her work," he says.

He thinks her 20 books may include material suitable for a TV or film adaptation.

NewMedia, based just north of Oxford Street in London, will concentrate on small, fast-growing Internet, hi-tech and telecoms companies that need capital. Mr Compton-Burnett, a trained accountant, says they will look at venture capital deals as well as AIM and full listings.

The biggest hotel chain in the world has a new boss. Thomas R Oliver has been appointed chief executive officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide on the retirement of Bryan Langton.

The company, owned by Bass, has more than 2,200 hotels in 60 countries, so Mr Oliver, an American who lives in Holiday Inn's head office town of Atlanta, Georgia, will have a busy time of it.

Mr Langton, a Brit who has just turned 60, has already extended his stay at the top beyond retirement age in order to give time for a replacement to be found. Mr Langton joined Bass in 1971 and the brewing group's board in 1985. Four years after that Bass bought Holiday Inn.

The BBC has just appointed a new transport correspondent, Simon Montague. Mr Montague, the weatherbeaten heart-throb of BBC reporting, turns out to be an experienced sea dog.

Nuclear Electric snapped him up to join a round-the-world yacht race. In fact, he was on the Nuclear Electric yacht when interviews for the Beeb job were being held and was interviewed on the boat via a satellite link.

It's official: Tony Blair's New Labour Party is the party of business. On Wednesday Hugh Aldous, managing partner of accountants Robson Rhodes, presented Mr Blair with an award from Investors in People (IiP), a prize usually reserved for companies such as IBM and Mercury Asset Management. IiP is a national quality standard awarded "to organisations for the training and development of their people". Labour is the first political party to receive it.

News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Media baron Rupert Murdoch owns News Corps and 20th Century Fox
theatrePlaywright David Williamson is struggling to find a big name to star as the media mogul
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Chief Financial Officer

120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?