Two British Army Reservists from the hugely successful ICE MAIDEN expedition will be joining fellow Antarctic crossers from the award-winning SPEAR 17 expedition at the Ulysses Trusts’ 25th Anniversary Reception at Lancaster House on Thursday 15th February 2018.
Ice maidens Major Sandy Henne and LSgt Sophie Montagne are two of the team of six British Army and Army Reservists who became the first all-female team to ski coast-to-coast across Antarctica in January 2018, using muscle power alone.
SPEAR 17 and ICE MAIDEN are just two of the 2,650 expeditions supported by the Ulysses Trust since its formation in 1992. The Trust will launch its Anniversary Appeal at the event, with the aim to double the financial support it is able to provide young Cadets to undertake their own expeditions, by 2021.
Guests at this special reception will also hear the announcement of the 2017 Prince of Wales Award winners for the best expedition in the following categories – Volunteer Reserve Forces, University Units and Cadet Forces. The awards will highlight the very best in leadership, challenge, courage and planning. The winners will be presented with certificates which have been personally signed by the Trust’s Patron HRH The Prince of Wales.
The winning expeditions are:
- Best Reserve Expedition: SPEAR 17 – British Army Reserves: This expedition saw a team of six Reservists succeed in a 1,100-mile crossing of the Antarctic Ice Cap, in memory of Henry Worsley, who died just short of completing the same unsupported journey the previous year.
- Best University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC) Expedition: ARCTIC EXPRESS 2017 – London UOTC: 16 cadets undertook a two-week sailing adventure from NW Scotland to Iceland, facing North Atlantic storms on-board Yacht ‘Adventure’.
- Best Cadet Expedition: STIRLING VENTURER 17 – TS Stirling Sea Cadets (Birmingham): Six Sea Cadets from TS Stirling and five from Birmingham’s Tile Cross Academy’ Combined Cadet Force (newly formed under the Government’s Cadet Expansion Scheme) attended a five-day Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) alongside 300 fellow international cadets at Fort Devens, USA.
The impact of expeditions can be summed up in the words of Cadet Hannah Jay, SCC (Forward Division) who took part in STIRLING VENTURER 17:
‘When I started on the JCLC I was so scared and homesick I wanted to go home and was crying all the time. When it finished I didn’t want to go home and was crying at having to say goodbye to all my new friends. I have learnt so much. It was the best experience of my life so far’.
The event will be hosted by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Gordon Messenger KCB, DSO*, OBE, who was himself a Mountain Leader with the Royal Marines, and a keen rock climber. He and Ulysses Trust Ambassador Levison Wood will be presenting the Prince of Wales Awards. Levison will also be taking part in a question and answer session with young cadets posing questions to the seasoned adventurer, author and film-maker.
The finale will be a display of drumming from ATC Sqn Corps of Drums from 114 (Ruislip) Sqn ATC.
The Ulysses Trust’s Chairman Nick Kurth said,
‘The event recognises the last 25 years of the Trust and looks forward to the future. In its first 25 years, the Trust has provided over £2.8m, thanks to a wide range of benefactors, to support some 2,650 expeditions benefitting over 34,000 young people. This is an important achievement contributing to the development of young people.’