Former England rugby captain Lewis Moody has been forced to pull out of a charity trek due to frostbite.

The Bradford on Avon-based former Bath and Leicester player was three days into the eight day Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon when the temperature had dropped to minus 35 degrees Celsius and he began to lose sensation in his finger.

Despite having covered 85 miles in the first two days, competition rules state that any frostbitten competitor must be removed from the race.

Mr Moody, 34, said: 'I am obviously absolutely gutted. This was my greatest challenge and to be forced to withdraw is shattering.

“An injury like this in the Yukon is very different to those you would experience on a rugby pitch, the elements are brutally unpredictable and you are a prisoner to whatever it throws at you.”

The retired rugby star was raising money for HOPEHIV and was trekking as a team with the charity’s founder Phil Wall, and polar explorer Alan Chambers MBE FRGS, who also had to step out of the challenge.

Mr Wall said: “I am gutted for Lewis who had, as he always does, been competing with characteristic passion and determination.

“Even after pulling out from the race he donated his own shoes to a fellow competitor who was struggling with his own damaged footwear.”