Last week, Alderley Edge School for Girls welcomed Mark Wood, the British explorer, to talk about his expedition to complete the 'most dangerous journey on Earth' next year.
In February, Mark, along with Paul Vicary and Mark Langridge will attempt to trek from Russia to the North Pole without a re-supply. The scale of the challenge is considerable; crossing hundreds of miles of unstable sea-ice; surviving in sub-zero temperatures and man-hauling up to 140kg across this dynamic and uncertain terrain.
As an experienced trio of Polar expedition specialists, the team are well placed to take on the challenge, having between them successfully participated in and led both Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
They have all been connected with the armed forces and, through this challenge, they will be supporting the charity Hire a Hero, which helps service leavers make the transition into civilian life.
To make Mark feel welcome, the school held an 'explorer day', with the pupils and staff dressing up as explorers... or anything linked to the North Pole, which included everything from Jacques Cousteau to polar bears and even Elsa from Frozen!
Deputy Headmistress Caroline Wood said "All of the girls, from Reception through to the Upper Sixth were captivated by Mark's talks and really enjoyed hearing about his experiences and the challenges faced by a real-life explorer."
During the expedition, the pupils will have the opportunity to communicate with the team through Skype. Enabling the girls to see what it is like for modern-day explorers to travel over this unforgiving yet fragile environment, sharing first hand their experience, thoughts and observations.
Mrs Wood went on to add "We hope to understand the implication of global climate change and to broaden the girls' future decisions. After all, our motto is 'Aspire not to have more, but to be more.'' We are looking forward to hearing about the expedition when Mark returns to share his experiences next year."
In return for the unique opportunity to be a part of this historic journey, the school is aiming to raise £15,000 to cover the cost of one of the sledges. To kick off the fundraising, Mark also spoke to parents and members of the local community about the unique opportunity and how everyone can take part.
The school has set up a Just Giving page for any donations.
Photo (l-r) Back row: Mrs Wood, Tsitsi, Atalyia, Sarah, Charlotte, Mark Wood, Bertie, Julianna, Bridget Howard and Clarissa. Front Row: Georgia, Jumanah, Nicole and Clarissa.
Junior School Head & Deputy Head Girls: Georgia, Jumanah, Clarissa and Nicole Reeves with Mark Wood and Head of Junior School Bridget Howard.