Frost cuts short South Downs ‘chase’

Young adventurers from West Sussex put their brains and bodies to the test recently in the Charlton Chase competition across the South Downs.

More than 240 youths braved snow and ice to take part in the night-time event, near Seaford College, crossing almost 18 miles of open countryside in freezing temperatures.

The annual challenge, organised by West Sussex County Council’s Youth Service for those aged between 15 and 21, saw teams navigate through Charlton Forest for eight miles while combating a number of challenges.

It was eventually called off due to the frosty conditions.

Event organiser Simon Whitmore said: “We had 84 teams take part this year from schools and youth organisations including the Scouts, Air Training Corp and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award centres supported by 100 adult volunteers.

“Although no one was able to finish the young people were fantastic and rose to the challenge the weather presented - building snowmen, igloos and fighting the occasional snowball battle.”

The competition, which has been running for more than 30 years, requires meticulous organisation and support from youth workers.