Prince Harry is 'fantastic' says injured soldier

Worcester News: Kate Philip with her parents Don and Sue Philip as she arrives back at Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport, after reaching the South Pole. Kate Philip with her parents Don and Sue Philip as she arrives back at Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport, after reaching the South Pole.

PRINCE Harry has been praised by a wounded Worcestershire soldier as she received a heroes' welcome after returning from a "crazy" South Pole adventure.

The injured British service personnel who formed the Walking With The Wounded charity expedition arrived at Heathrow after catching a flight from Cape Town in South Africa to spend Christmas at home.

They faced such extreme weather conditions during their 200-mile (322km) odyssey that organisers had to call off the competitive element of the adventure.

But working as one unit, the UK team and squads from the US and Commonwealth made it to their Antarctic goal together on Friday, December 13.

In total, 12 injured servicemen and women who have overcome life-changing injuries took part, with Harry serving as Team UK's patron.

Among them was amputee Major Kate Philp, aged 35, from Knightwick, near Worcester, who lost her leg below the knee while serving in Afghanistan in November 2008.

The only female member of Team UK, Major Philp hailed the prince, who returned to Britain separately, for being "fantastic from beginning to end".

"Especially considering he hadn't had as many training opportunities because he is so busy, he was a really strong, fit individual,” she said.

"Personally speaking, there were a couple of days where I was struggling and he was there every time, at rest breaks, helping me out, buoying me up and pulling me on.

"He was exactly what you would expect from a military man - no airs or graces, he just mucked in with everyone else."

Ed Parker, co-founder of Walking With The Wounded and expedition director, said: "It was far harder than we were expecting.

"We were expecting flat snow from south of 87 degrees to the Pole but actually there's been bad storms through the winter over there, so it was very broken up.

"We also had a couple of days which were much colder than we were expecting.

"Psychologically it's hard, there's nothing to see, it's very, very flat, so your brain has nothing to focus on."

The team tackled a challenging training programme beforehand to prepare themselves for the conditions in Antarctica.

Aiming to trek around nine to 12 miles (15km to 20km) a day, the teams endured temperatures as low as minus 45C and 50mph winds as they pulled their 154lb (70kg) sleds, known as pulks, towards the southernmost point on the globe.


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