Firefighter's south pole blow led to new goal

A firefighter who was forced to quit an expedition to the south pole due to ill health has thrown his efforts into a different charity mission.

Friday, 30th September 2016, 12:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:15 pm
Steve Brondel in training for the SPEAR17 expedition before he was forced to drop out.

Watch manager Steve Brondel, from Pontefract Fire Station, was gearing up to ski 730 miles unassisted over the polar continent to the South Pole with a group of Army Reservists this winter when his heart went into a dangerous irregular rhythm and he collapsed during training in Norway.

The 44-year-old was taken to hospital and his heart was re-started by medics - but his dream to be part of the two month SPEAR17 expedition was over.

Instead the father of four channelled his efforts into organising a fundraiser for The Prince of Wales Hospice.

Despite being unable to take part as he is awaiting heart surgery for the arrhythmia, Mr Brondel co-ordinated the Mighty Swim challenge, which took place from September 23-26.

Fundraisers - including friend Carl Baxter - swam Lake Windermere, Derwent Water, Ullswater and Lake Coniston (a total of 30 miles) in the four days.

Mr Brondel and Mr Baxter are hoping to have raised more than £6,000 for the hospice.

To sponsor them, visit