Ten leaping lords, nine ladies dancing, eight maids and a cow

DESPITE Jack Frost nipping at their heels, 200 leaping lords and dancing ladies donned costumes for a sponsored dash around Canary Wharf yesterday lunchtime.

The fancy dress charity race was in aid of children’s charity Starlight. Competitors complied with the festive dress code by donning team costumes, inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas rhyme. The result? An array of morphsuits, tutus, wings and maid outfits being paraded around Docklands.

“There’s a first time for everything, and running through Canary Wharf in a tutu during my lunch hour is certainly a first for me” said Neil Darke, chief executive of Collins Stewart Wealth Management and one of seven swans a-swimming.

Iceland Foods chairman Malcolm Walker (pictured) headed off on a trek to the South Pole in November to mark the firm’s 42nd anniversary. The 140 mile unsupported trek across the Antarctic ice cap to the geographic South Pole aimed to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded.

Walker, who abseiled down the Shard earlier this year and has already checked the North Pole off his exploration list, is clearly no stranger to danger: “Now I’m aiming to complete the Polar double through 19 days of what I know will be utter misery, given that my natural habitat is a centrally heated five star hotel, rather than a shared tent at minus 40°C.” Famous last words, as they say. Walker flew home before completing the trek due to illness: “What the hell have I done to my stomach? I blame the expedition food,” he said. However his fellow adventurers, including Olympian Matthew Pinsent, reached the pole and are expected safely back on UK terra firma tomorrow.