A DAD-of-three has begun an epic 600km ski in freezing temperatures in support of a charity that uses music to help children with complex needs.

James Redden from Thame began the challenge in Greenland on Thursday and expecting it to take 25 days.

In the process of the gruelling trip he is hoping to raise £5,000 for Didcot-based charity Soundabout - a cause he was inspired to support after seeing its work with the son of a family friend.

The ten-year-old, Toby, contracted pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia as a baby, and now lives with cerebral palsy.

Soundabout has worked with Toby and his family to help him to communicate and express himself using sounds.

Mr Redden said: "His story really opened my eyes.

"What they do for children and their families is absolutely amazing.

"The way they can bring out sides of people's personalities and characters is incredible.

"To see how it brings new life out of them, it was astounding."

Mr Redden has spent the last two years raising money for Soundabout after a career as a soldier which saw him travel the globe to some of the most extreme places on earth.

The 47-year-old, who now works in IT, is skiing with five other people, carrying all his own supplies and food.

They are travelling cross-country, pulling themselves along with poles in -30 degree temperatures.

He said: "My experience is about half the things you imagine will go wrong, will go wrong - the cold bites, equipment breaks and before you know it, you are experiencing things beyond you've ever felt before.

"It's going to be arduous but I hope that for every step I take during the crossing one more person will learn about Soundabout and the fabulous work they do."

Clare Cook, CEO of Soundabout, based in the Cornerstone Arts Centre, said, “For the past two years James has absolutely immersed himself in supporting the charity's work by speaking to schools, organising market stalls and designing Christmas cards for Soundabout.

"Part of his aim in getting involved is to help raise awareness of the work our brilliant music team do in giving a voice to people with severe learning disabilities through music.

"We are so grateful to him for his incredible support.”

To support the trip go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesRedden