“We intend on being visible role models to women and girls, as you can’t be what you can’t see…”
These are just a few of the inspiring words from two female firefighters – The Antarctic Fire Angels – who are set to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in November this year. While they need to raise £25,000 to take part, they’ll then aim to raise as much as they can for us after that.
Georgina Gilbert and Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe work across South Wales and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services.
They’re planning to ski the 1,130km route unassisted, pulling 85+kg pulks (supply sleds) in temperatures as low as -50c with possible wind speeds of over 60mph. They hope to complete it in round 45 days – that’s approximately 25km every day.
“We believe that everyone should be given every opportunity in life to achieve their ambitions,” the women say. “Historically women and girls have been stereotyped into certain roles and therefore unaware of their own capabilities outside of these boundaries.
“We intend on challenging that concept and showing what women are capable of.
“When we were growing up we didn’t see any representation of female firefighters or female adventurers, and we therefore didn’t really know these options were available to us. We intend on being visible role models to women and girls, as you can’t be what you can’t see!”
On choosing to support The Fire Fighters Charity, they add: “We are preparing to face one of the harshest environments in the world to give you full insight of who we are as ordinary women – who are capable of doing extraordinary things. As firefighters, we are often portrayed as strong individuals who are resistant to tragedy, and able to cope and to continue at any cost. This isn’t true.
“Mental health affects firefighters. Gender stereotyping affects prospective firefighters. Both can affect us all.”
The idea for the challenge was born at the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) Training and Development event in 2019. Since then, they’ve begun meeting regularly and training in readiness for the event itself.
And each teammate has their own personal reasons for wanting to complete the challenge. You can read about each of them here: