Personal account: Rich Archer, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

The volunteer fundraiser recalls having the time of his life in the Arctic.

The best advice I've had

Taking part in the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home sledding event in Norway was my first foray into fundraising. My colleague Lisa Monger told me to keep my eye on the target of £2,500, but to see raising the money as part of the experience and to go out and enjoy it. As for the sledding, probably the best piece of advice I was given was "don't eat yellow snow".

The biggest challenge I've faced

When I first started fundraising for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, my biggest challenge was realising that it isn't enough just to go out and ask people to give you money unless you also know your stuff about your charity. I had to work really hard at building up a proper understanding of how the home works, how it raises funds and how it helps the animals that it cares for.

The sledding in Norway was challenging on so many levels. Try running up a mountain in full arctic gear. It helps redefine the word 'challenging'.

My greatest hit

Probably putting the last donation in and realising I'd hit my £2,500 target. To do it I'd completed a triathlon, organised sponsored runs and also done a lot of traditional tin-rattling. The sledding trip was a series of greatest moments: drilling for water on a frozen lake with only the moonlight to guide me; the Northern Lights; and the eerie howling of the dogs as they settled down for the night. The feeling of complete calm as we travelled across one of the most spectacular places on the planet, with our only immediate concern being the care of our dogs and our sleds, was sometimes overwhelming.

My worst moment

Leaving my team of five dogs at the end of the trek. They worked so hard and were so affectionate that it was awful to have to say goodbye to them at the end.

My top tip

If you're fundraising for the first time, don't do things you're not comfortable with. Concentrate on your strengths, which for me involved doing sports-related sponsorship. And if you ever go to Norway, buy your wine in duty free before you get there.

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