The Polar Maidens is a team of ‘ordinary’ women, each born in a different decade who are training hard in preparation for a gruelling expedition to the South Pole. They come from England, Ireland and India with ages ranging from 25 to 75!
Antarctica is the coldest, highest and driest continent on earth. It is 58 times the size of the UK and 98% is covered by an ice sheet that averages at least 1 mile thick.
The Polar Maidens have four main goals:
1 – SCIENTIFIC: Find out how women of different ages react to the same extreme conditions and recover physically and emotionally. It’s been done with men and with athletes – but not a team of more ‘ordinary’ women. Prof Chris Imray, from Warwick Medical School, is an international leader in extreme medicine. Adding to his research, he will be advising the Polar Maidens on physiological preparation and monitoring their bodies’ reaction to physical exertions and efforts in the extreme conditions. Dr Nathan Smith from Manchester University will be monitoring the psychological performance and health of the Maidens in these extreme, challenging and demanding settings.
2 – PERSONAL: Undertake a rather more personal mission of honouring the renowned explorer, Tom Crean, from Scott’s 1910 expedition, this brave man wept when he was told by Scott he had not been selected for the final team to push on to the Pole. He is the grandfather to one of the Polar Maidens (Aileen). By reaching the South Pole a century later, the Polar Maidens are also showing how far women have come since the 1900’s in terms of physical strength and spirit.
3 – ENVIRONMENTAL: Tanvi, one of the Polar Maidens, is advising the team on how they can be environmentally friendly. They will be planting trees on their return to offset their carbon footprint and using as much recyclable equipment as possible. The team want to reinforce the message of how important it is to preserve this unique Antarctic environment.
4 – PHILANTHROPIC: Raise funds for the INSPIRATIONELLE FOUNDATION so that grants can be given to more women and young people looking to complete an extraordinary project.
The team has been put together by Jan Meek who will celebrate her 76th birthday in Antarctica. She hopes to get another Guinness World Record for this journey too. Find out more about Jan and each of the six intrepid Polar Maidens.
The expedition will be raising funds for the Inspirationelle Foundation. If you would like to support the Polar Maidens and the Foundation please visit our GoFundMe page – thank you. Corporate sponsors, please see our sponsorship options and contact us directly. If you would like a Polar Maiden to be a fascinating and inspirational speaker for your business or charity fundraising event, we’d be happy to help in return for sponsorship. Please find out more.
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The Polar Maidens featured on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday 19 September....