Record-breaking cross-Antarctic skiers deliver inspirational message of resilience

Website news story, July 2018

Record-breaking cross-Antarctic skiers deliver inspirational message of resilience

Two record breakers who skied across Antarctica in temperatures of -56°C left pupils feeling inspired after a visit to share stories of their journey.

Major Sandy Hennis and LSgt Sophie Montagne visited The Olive School and Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School as part of the schools’ leadership programmes.

Both women are members of the all-female Ice Maiden team that made the 1,700km cross-Antarctic journey on skis and pulling sledges weighing up to 180lb. They addressed pupils at each school, speaking about the personal qualities that helped them complete this major feat of endurance.

Our pupils also had the opportunity to try on the kit that kept the Ice Maidens warm and safe in sub-zero temperatures.

Major Hennis and LSgt Montagne completed the record-breaking journey between November 2017 and January 2018 alongside four other British women currently serving in the British Army or as reserves.

The team battled against windspeeds of over 60 miles per hour throughout the 62 day journey that took them from the Leverett Glacier to the Hercules Inlet, via the South Pole.

The Ice Maiden team aimed to demonstrate how women have the mental strength and physical endurance to operate in the most hostile environment on earth, and to collect medical data of how the female body copes with extreme endurance.

Julie Bradley, our Principal said:

“We are fortunate to have had some fantastic speakers visit our school, but not many have such an inspirational story as Major Hennis and LSgt Montagne! Our children were transfixed as they listened to both women speak about their journey and the hard work and dedication that went into preparing for it.

“The Ice Maiden team are keen to highlight how we can all achieve anything if we prepare mentally and physically and apply ourselves to the challenge. As we aim to inspire our young pupils to develop the qualities to excel as tomorrow’s leaders, their message of perseverance and resilience was a pertinent one. We’re very grateful to them for visiting The Olive School.”

Major Sandy Hennis commented:

“The children enjoyed a morning of learning who we are and what we do. They especially enjoyed looking at our equipment. We are glad to have shared what we do with the future generation and hopefully inspire some of them to walk in our footsteps.”

Year 6 pupil Hafsa Ali added:

“We have never seen anything like this before and didn’t know people like this were even real. We were all enthralled by what they had to show and tell us. It looked really cool and I can’t believe they do what they do!”

Major Sandy Hennis is an Army reservist. She started out as a radio technician and achieved the rank of Corporal. After that she went to Sandhurst and commissioned back into the Royal Signals. She was in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan before transferring to the Reserves in 2014.

LSgt Sophie Montagne is a section commander in the Honourable Artillery Company Army Reserves Regiment at the weekends, and during the week works in marketing in Central London. She learned to ski with the Army’s Officer Training Corps at university and has been obsessed with skiing ever since. She is an Army ski instructor and has raced for her regiment, breaking the national speed limit when she hit 73mph in the downhill.

Added By: Olive Blackburn | Date Added: 6th Jul 2018 | Posted In:

The Olive School, Blackburn

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