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Police officer on Arctic trek in memory of wife and sister

Sergeant Don Sutherland is taking on the journey in temperatures that could reach as low as -25C.

A police officer is swapping his beat in Fife for the freezing conditions of the Arctic.

Sergeant Don Sutherland is taking on a three-day trek in temperatures that could reach as low as -25C.

The 58-year-old is raising awareness and money for Maggie's Centre in Kirkcaldy in memory of his wife and sister who both died from cancer in the space of eight months.

Sgt Sutherland said, "My immediate reaction was don't be so silly and within seconds it was well, why wouldn't I?

"It's one of these chances to go somewhere in the world that not many people get to see."

It will be a poignant trip for Sgt Sutherland who is raising money for Maggie's cancer centre in Kirkcaldy.

He added: "I lost my sister Fiona to pancreatic cancer in 2011.

"She was only 54 and the following year my wife Valerie died from cervical cancer which travelled through her body.

"She was only 48 so it was a tough time for the family.

"After about a year and a half of being in the doldrums I wandered into the Maggie's Centre in Kirkcaldy.

"It's people with cancer I expected, I didn't realise they helped people who don't have cancer but are touched by cancer and over a long period of time they helped me make sense of it all and helped me get my positive attitude back."

Sgt Sutherland will cover around 18 miles each day in freezing temperatures while pulling a sled of supplies.

It costs £2400 each day to run a Maggie's centre, all funded from public donations.

'I'd like to think they'd be pleased with me or proud of me.'
Sergeant Don Sutherland

Rosie Small, from Maggie's Centre in Kirkcaldy, said: "It's absolutely essential for the running of these centres. We couldn't function without it.

"We don't get any external funding so it's crucial.

"Don is a very brave man and he's been through many challenges with his family members and their cancers and this is another challenge for him."

His wife and sister will be in Sgt Sutherland's thoughts as he tackles the gruelling journey.

He said: "I'd like to think they'd be pleased with me or proud of me.

"That's the most important thing for me, the pride of my family.

"But I'll continue to support Maggie's, they need the money and if I can do my little bit which is all it is, it's just a little bit then that's what I'll continue to do."

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