A PAWNBROKING expert and passionate dog-lover has completed a gruelling four-day trek across Finland to raise thousands of pounds for an animal charity.

Michael Suter, from Banbury, embarked on an adventure walking, skiing and husky sledding in the Arctic to raise funds for Dogs for Good.

Mr Suter, who is head of pawnbroking and retail jewellery at Capital Cash - the largest Cash Converters franchise in the UK - managed to raise £6,396 for his efforts, surpassing his £6,000 target, which will go to the charity.

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He set off last month from Hossa in north-east Finland with his partner Kelly Kempster, along with a team of eight others and faced some of the harshest conditions in aid of the charity.

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Mr Suter said on his return from Finland: “It was a privilege to be able to raise vital funds to support Dogs for Good. The charity is completely self-funded, and I have first-hand seen the impact of these dogs, and how they can transform lives.

“The challenge was no mean feat though. We hit temperatures of -12 degrees, and were trekking through snow and ice for hours every day. I’d like to thank each and every person who sponsored us – it made every blister worth it and it was a real pleasure to do my bit.”

After months of rigorous training involving 5km runs, Mr Suter’s journey took place over four days in January, staying in traditional log cabins during their time on the trek.

They spent the first day acclimatising to the average temperature before setting off through the snow where they learnt on their second day how to ‘snow-shoe’ which is a type of style of walking in the snow.

Their route across the icy land took them through silent woodland broken only by the crunch of the snow.

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On day three, they hiked the ridges and frozen lakes and looked out for wildlife such as elk, wolves, lynxes and hares that live in the woods.

Mr Suter also learnt how to husky-sled as well as cross-country ski - which is one of the most popular winter hobbies in Finland - on the last stretch of the journey.

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Dogs for Good is a life-transforming charity, creating partnerships between people living with disability and specially trained assistance dogs, helping those with complex needs lead more independent lives.

Each fully trained dog costs the charity £20,000, and it relies on volunteers like Mr Suter to fundraise.

He also volunteers his home as temporary boarding accommodation for one of the dogs on the 18-week programmes and has so far housed ten dogs since he began volunteering with the charity.

Dogs for Good also has family dog workshops which provide parents of children with autism with the advice and long-term support needed for choosing and training a dog to benefit the whole family.

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It also has community dogs along with specialist handlers who help people to improve their independence, wellbeing and skills, as well as assistance dogs which support adults and children with a range of disabilities and children with autism.

If you would like to donate, go to www.justgiving.com.