We are a team of firefighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and London Fire Brigade, and as an all-female team of five – Nakita Ross, Alison Kibblewhite, Rebecca Rowe, Nikki Upton and Georgina Gilbert – we are going on an expedition to empower women of all generations and tackle the stigma around mental health.
We are going to ski coast-to-coast across Antarctica in November 2023. Together we will cover 1,900km, pulling 85kg pulks in temperatures as low as -50°C and in wind speeds of over 60mph in approximately 70 days. Conquering this route using mind and muscle power alone will be a world record as the team would be the first all-female emergency services team to achieve this.
The Antarctic Fire Angels was born at the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) Training and Development event in 2019 where keynote speaker Sophie Montange from the Army’s Ice Maiden team said: ‘Show women what women are capable of.’ And it was this statement that inspired the idea. Team leader Nakita Ross and Wales team leader Georgina Gilbert then set in motion what has become a truly inspiring adventure – and it’s only just started.
Recruiting the team was a tough job considering how many amazing firefighters who are female are out there. The team was formed nonetheless and here are their stories on why this expedition matters so much to them:
Nakita Ross – Founder of the Antarctic Fire Angels and Team Leader of the London team:
I want to show women that they can achieve any challenge they want to in life. I want to inspire the next generation, pushing all-out girl power to the limits, squashing stereotypes and tackling mental health head on.
Georgina Gilbert – Co-founder and Wales Team Leader:
There are women out there who think, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that.’ My response to that is: ‘Have you tried?’ If the answer is no, then how do you know you can’t? Be the person that YOU needed when you were growing up.
Rebecca Rowe – Knows no boundaries when it comes to gender stereotyping:
I am passionate about being a good example for other women and girls and hope my achievements and life experiences show that there are no boundaries. I believe that women and girls should have the right to the same opportunities as men and boys and that we are just as capable of taking on physical and mental challenges seen as classically ‘male’ activities.
Alison Kibblewhite – Area Commander, Head of Operations for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
I hope our stories, our causes and our complete journey over the next three years will inspire other people to take on challenges that may at first seem impossible and go on incredible adventures to show others what can be achieved through adversity.
Nikki Upton – Loves helping people realise their full potential.
Have faith in yourself. I want to prove to other women that you don’t need to be issue free to achieve your goals. We do the job because we love it and it’s helped me become a better-rounded person by seeing the world from a different perspective.
We can’t do this without YOU. Be part of our journey.
To make this incredible expedition happen, and help support our charities (below), we need to raise at least £800,000. This will fund training, equipment, nutrition and insurance. It will also grant us a substantial platform from which to raise vital financial donations through fundraising activities for our charities.
For more Information, go to www.antarcticfireangels.co.uk