Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Harry to join forces' Pole trek

Prince Harry is to take part in the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge in November and December this year

Prince Harry will take part in a race to the South Pole with a team of wounded British servicemen and women, he has announced.

The 28-year-old will take on teams from the United States and the Commonwealth in the 208-mile (335km) Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge in November and December this year.

He said at a press conference in London during which the teams were announced: "So, it just remains for me to say to Soldier On Canada, Soldiers To Summits from the US and Soldier On Australia - welcome to the party. As a member of the British team, I will have a brew ready for you when you join us at the Pole."

Harry, who took part in the charity's trek to the North Pole in 2011, is already patron of the Antarctica expedition, but he confirmed he will be taking part with Team Glenfiddich for the whole race.

He missed out on a bid to conquer Mount Everest with the group last year because of his military commitments and he withdrew early from the successful North Pole expedition to attend his brother's wedding.

The four wounded service personnel in the British team are Sergeant Duncan Slater, 34, from Muir of Ord in Scotland, who lost both his legs in a blast in Afghanistan in 2009; Major Kate Philp, 34, from Worcestershire, who lost her left leg after a bomb blast in 2008; Captain Guy Disney, 31, from Oxford, who lost his right leg in a rocket attack in 2009; and Captain Ibrar Ali, 36, from York, who lost his right arm in a roadside bomb in 2007.

During the four-week Antarctic expedition the racers will drag sledges - known as pulks - weighing more than 150lb (68kg) and face extreme temperatures as low as -45C, along with savage 50mph winds. Harry and his team mates will trek between nine and 13 miles each day, battle against extreme weather conditions and encounter vast crevasses, moving ice-shelves, glaciers and snow storms.

During the press conference, Harry was given a red polar coat by adventurer Inge Solheim, who was the guide for the successful trek to the North Pole. This time Mr Solheim will be the guide for the American team, which is made up of Margaux Mange from Lakewood, Colorado; Mark Wise, from Colorado Springs, Colorado; Therese Frentz from Del Rio, Texas; and Ivan Castro from Fayetteville Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Commonwealth team is made up of Alexandre Beaudin-D'Anjou from Quebec in Canada, Heath Jamieson from Sydney, Australia; Seamus Donaghue from Brisbane, Australia; and Chris Downey, from Coldlake, Canada.

Ed Parker, the charity co-founder, said: "The Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge will demonstrate the close bond between the UK forces and our allies both on and off the battlefield. There is no doubt that the young men and women who take part in our expeditions are an inspiration - they prove what is possible post-injury given the right support."

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