British Army officer Captain Preet Chandi, the first woman of colour to trek solo to the South Pole, inspired students with a talk about her epic expedition – and even brought along her sled.
Earlier this year, Captain Chandi, trekked 700 miles on skis to reach the South Pole in 40 days, seven hours and three minutes, pulling a 90kg sled, while battling temperatures of -50C and winds of 60mph.
She told students: “You can achieve anything regardless of your background, regardless of your starting point, if you’re prepared to put in a lot of hard work.”
Captain Chandi, 33, an Army physiotherapist and medical officer, with 3 Medical Regiment, is only the third woman in history to trek solo and unsupported to the South Pole.
Nicknamed ‘Polar Preet’, she now plans a second expedition to the South Pole, later this year, this time to become the first woman to complete a solo unsupported coast-to-coast crossing of Antarctica. It will be an even tougher expedition of more than 1,000 miles and will take her around two months.
Captain Chandi said: “A lot of us are born with barriers and boundaries.”
The achievement was never about herself, but encouraging people of all backgrounds and cultures, to push their boundaries and believe in themselves.
She said she didn’t know much about Antarctica or Antarctic explorers before challenging herself to trek to the South Pole.
“I remember googling Antarctic explorers and none of them looked like me. I was even told I didn’t look like an Antarctic explorer,” she told the audience of Year 9 to Year 12 students.
“Now when I google Antarctic explorers, I see a picture of me!”
She had spent two-and-half years physically preparing for the expedition, including crevasse training in the Alps and spending 27 days on the ice cap in Greenland.
The trek raised funds for charity with half the proceeds going towards the launch of an adventure grant for women attempting unique challenges. The other half has gone to an humanitarian aid charity.
Adcote School headmistress Diane Browne said: “What an inspirational story! Captain Preet Chandi was engaging and admirable in all that she told the students, who were all glued to their seats!
“Captain Chandi is an impressive role model to young students, delivering a powerful message.”Categories: Adcote School Blog