WACL Speaker Dinner, Tuesday 12th June 2007
Ann first set her sights on the Polar Regions in 1995 when she was selected from over 200 applicants in an SAS style selection process to take part in the 1997 McVities Penguin Polar Relay. Although she had no previous outdoor experience, her grit, determination and positivity convinced the selectors not only to choose Ann for the team but to select her for the first and most arduous part of the journey. Team Alpha doubled the target mileage set for them and gave the expedition a fantastic start. On 27 May 1997 team Echo stepped onto the North Pole to celebrate success.
It was during this expedition that Ann fell in love with the Polar Regions and the challenges of expedition life. She was determined to return to the Polar wastelands again and together with four other women from the relay put together an expedition to walk to the South Pole. This time they planned and put together the whole expedition themselves and without the aid of guides walked over 700 miles across the most inhospitable continent in the world to reach the South Pole and become the first British women’s team to complete this journey.
Having taken part in two expeditions and learnt the art of survival in extreme conditions in 2001 Ann returned to the Arctic to become the first female British North Pole guide guiding a team of multinational men the last degree to the pole.
It was here that the seed for her next expedition was planted and upon her return Ann approached Caroline Hamilton and Pom Oliver and asked them to join her on one of the hardest expeditions yet. An all the way expedition to the North Geographic Pole. The team of three set off from Canada in March 2002 and from the beginning suffered unimaginable temperatures, huge pressure ridges, storms, frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. Pom unfortunately had to be airlifted out due to frostbite and wet gangrene and Ann and Caroline battled onwards to finally reach the pole after 80 days travel.
In 2005 Ann began a solo expedition to the North Pole. On day 21 due to problems with Russian permits she was airlifted from the Ice.
This has not deterred Ann and she is now planning the ultimate Polar journey…to walk to the North Geographical Pole on her own. With 7 polar expeditions to her credit she has the experience, determination and courage to make this journey alone and become the first woman in the world to walk solo to the North Pole.
AWARDS & QUALIFICATIONS
- Honorary Degree — Doctor of Laws
- Freedom of Yeovil
- Guinness Book of Records
- Government Book of National Stastistics
- Foreign Office Recognition
- Women of the Year
- Pride of Britain Award
- Special Olympics whose motto is "Let me win and if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt"
- The Square Mile Charity
- Cancer Research — UK
- Cornwall Rescue Group