Today, Tuesday 21 January 2014, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hosted the official Welcome Home Press Conference for the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge 2013, which is now regarded as one of the most high profile expeditions of modern times. Prince Harry, Expedition Patron, was in attendance and joined his Team Glenfiddich teammates to mark the official end to the expedition to the South Pole.
The Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 saw 12 wounded servicemen and women ski 200km to the geographic South Pole in a staggering 13 days. Three teams from the UK (Team Glenfiddich), US (Team Noom Coach) and Commonwealth (Team Soldier On) were all made up of four wounded personnel, one polar guide, one team mentor and an honorary member. Prince Harry was the honorary member of Team Glenfiddich, and today joined teammates Sergeant Duncan Slater, Captain Guy Disney, Captain Ibrar Ali MC and Major Kate Philp on stage to give a short speech:
“[…] Inspiring others is one of the corner stones of this charity; to demonstrate to those who have experienced life-changing injuries that everything is still possible. I hope this truly unbelievable achievement by everyone behind me and back in America, Canada or Australia that what they’ve archived will remind everybody that they can achieve anything they want to.
Our wounded, injured and sick do not want pity. They simply want to be treated the same way they were before they were injured: with respect and admiration. For some the journey may be more of a challenge and it falls to all of us to help them where we can. Be that in training, in appointments, sports or even adventure. So if anybody out there has the ability or resources to give these guys and girls a stepping-stone back into employment, then please do; you certainly won’t regret it.
This expedition will have inspired others along in their recovery and you’ll see by the documentary when it comes out in March that it has clearly has made a huge impact on everyone here and everyone that was wearing a coloured jacket that had the opportunity to go to the South Pole. But not forgetting the thousands of lives that will be changed and affected by what these guys have archived and shown is possible.
On top of that I also want (I know it has already been mentioned) to thank the sponsors and everybody else who made this possible. The two founders for getting us all involved in this whole thing. As I said, the sponsors for making it possible but not to forget the Russian contingent for looking after us so well, for feeding us while we were in Novo. And our Canadian air crew lead by Chuck, for bending over backwards to make sure we got to and from the South Pole in time and safely and back for Christmas.
So to everyone involved in this wonderful adventure: thank you very much.”
– Prince Harry, Expedition Patron