Ray 'chomping at the bit' for 65 Degrees North mission to Norway

Published Sunday, 5th March 2023
Ray evams pic

Former Royal Navy acting Petty Officer Ray Evans is one who enjoys and never shirks a challenge.

At nearly 60 the Londoner, now living on the edge of the Perak District in Derbyshire, is one of the six beneficiaries embarking on 65 Degrees North’s latest expedition.

The mission is heading to the Norwegian mountains in an attempt to ski across the iconic Hardangervidda plateau from Finse to Rjukan - a 140km mission over six days.

65 Degrees North specialise in iconic challenges which create a series of adventurous activities for carefully selected members of the WIS (wounded, injured and sick) service personnel.

This is a unique expedition for 65DN, as for the first time, it involves representatives from all three of the services - Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

As an amputee this obviously sets up a series of challenges for Ray, who lost his left leg below the knee in an accident on HMS Intrepid returning from the Gulf in 1989.

In the accident Ray broke his back, left arm and left leg. After many operations and an increasing problem with bone disease Ray was eventually forced to have his leg amputated in 2018.

Although amputation might have daunted and affected many, four months after the operation Ray was running a half marathon.

He has since completed a series of ultra runs. For instance, 100 miles in 48 hours and another one - 83 miles in 24 hours. He hopes to complete the Montane Spine in June - 268 miles the length of the Pennine Way in six days.

“Running is my medicine - it’s the only time I feel like a complete person,” he admitted.

Although he is a veteran when it comes to running he has only recently taken up skiing again something he hasn’t done since 2002.

“I am not concerned about the physical nature of the challenge but it is more about the technique of skiing that all be the main focus for me.

“Being part of the 65 Degrees family has been a massive boost to my confidence and if I can be as much as a 0.5% positive to the mission then that will be everything to me.

“I’m chomping at the bit to get going in Norway. I can’t wait.”

A big boost to 65 Degrees North Ray has pledged to raising money for a series of special challenges over the next year after he returns from Norway.

“To celebrate my 60th birthday I am embarking on 60 challenges and will raise as much money as I can for 65 Degrees North,” added Ray.

The group set out on their mission on Friday March 17 and and are expected to complete the challenge on March 22.

The Team will consists of: Georgie Smith, Ruth Lanckham, Craig Skinner, Lee Spencer, Sean Gane and Ray Evans, with the Support Team including: George Matthews (Team Leader), Billy Baxter, Ross Matthews, Ben Clark (Team Doctor).

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