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.

Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories