A STUDENT has raised more than £3,000 for National Autistic Society after taking on a challenge to trek with dogs to the Arctic Circle.

Millie Peacock, from Skeeby near Richmond, signed up for the challenge when she saw it advertised at Loughborough University, where she studies art.

The distance travelled was 225km over eight days and the university team has raised more than £82,000 for the National Autistic Society so far.

She had to initially raise £2,300 before her trip, and thanks to generous sponsorship from local businesses, she has reached her target of £3,000.

Miss Peacock, 19, said: "It was an amazing experience – much more challenging than I imagined, mentally and physically.

"One day, every member of the team came down with a stomach bug which was horrendous and it cut the trip slightly short. But it was still incredible and I miss it now I'm back, especially the dogs.

"The dogs are so loyal and they knew us after just a few days – they absolutely loved running and could just keep going and going."

Miss Peacock held a coffee morning and a speed dating event with friends to raise some of her sponsorship, but her main sponsors were MKM Building Supplies, Evolve Architectural Services Ltd, Rodbers Of Richmond Ltd, Marcus Alderson, Randall Orchard Construction, GNAT UK, The Franchise Company, Cameron's Brewery, The Sirius Group, MB Design and Development Ltd, and Roots and Shoots Florist.

She added: "We arrived in Oslo, Norway, then travelled to Tromso where we met the dogs for the first time.

"I signed up by myself and didn't know anyone else on the trip, but they were all Loughborough University students and we made a really strong bond.

"We got all of our gear and spent our first night in a teepee, and our fire went out overnight so it was freezing when we woke up. There were around 120 dogs taking us on the sleds – they were crazy and had so much energy! But it was very physically challenging as we had to push the sleds when going uphill.

"We spent another night camping before we got to the point where Sweden, Norway and Finland meet within the Arctic Circle. Camping was very cold, but luckily the night everyone was ill we were staying in a lodge so we had a few home comforts!

"The journey back after that night was extremely difficult as we were all so weak, even the guides, and I think everyone fell off the sleds that day.

"It was lucky we had been at the lodge because if we had been in the tents it would not have been very pleasant."

Miss Peacock said although they did not see the Northern Lights, they witnessed some magnificent sunsets, and said she had never experienced such tranquility.

"The landscape was like nothing I'd seen before – it was like being on the moon. At the top of the mountains it was so peaceful and beautiful."

To donate to her appeal visit: https://lsudare.everydayhero.com/uk/millie-s-arctic-trek-for-the-national-autistic-society.