Firefighter Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Firefighter Georgina Gilbert from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are about to embark on an expedition in Antarctica later this month (November 2023).
Rebecca and Georgina, who form the Antarctic Fire Angels (AFA), will be undertaking an epic 1,130km journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole – all while being unsupported, unguided and unassisted. They will both be pulling supply sleds each weighing around 90kg including everything they’ll need to survive – tent, food and fuel.
One of the biggest barriers of the expedition will be the weather, with temperatures often reaching as low as -50°C and wind speeds of over 60mph and the duo will need to cover around 25km every day for 45 days to complete the route.
The aim of the expedition is to highlight what women are capable of and to inspire future generations to follow their goals and ambitions.
Speaking on the expedition, Firefighter Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe of Port Talbot Fire Station, said: “In 2023, women still have to tackle stereotypes and gender bias, and we want to change the narrative of what it means to be a girl and that gender shouldn’t be a barrier to success – run like a girl, ski like a girl, do an expedition like a girl.
“The Antarctic Fire Angels was formed at the Women in the Fire Services Training and Development event in 2019, since then we’ve gone from complete novices and have undertaken an incredibly demanding four-year-long training programme to prepare ourselves.”
As well as preparing physically and mentally for the challenge, the AFA team have also spent the last four years fundraising for their expedition through sponsorships and a Just Giving page.
The AFAs will be leaving for Chile on November 10th, before heading to Antarctica on the 18th to embark on their journey.
(Lead image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)
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