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Queen's Birthday honour for inspirational polar trekker

Captain Preet Chandi, whose history-making solo trek to the South Pole fired the imagination of women and girls across the world, is recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2022 with an MBE.

Capt Chandi, who is known as Polar Preet, stepped on to the ice of Antarctica on 24 November 2021 and In just 40 days covered 700 miles, making history to become the first woman of colour to complete a solo and unsupported trek to the South Pole.

Preet,of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), also became the third fastest woman to trek across the continent. When she learned that she was to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, she said: “It feels incredible. I didn’t think someone like me could get this. I’m honoured.

“I wanted to do something that not only pushed my boundaries but also inspired others to do the same.“

Her citation said: “Under the name ‘Polar Preet’, detailed planning and training for the expedition took a remarkably short period of just two years. From a self-confessed start point of ‘knowing nothing about the polar world’, she meticulously researched her project, including seeking advice from those who had undertaken similar expeditions.”

Preet, who has been in the Regular Army since 2016, having joined the Army Reserve in 2009, explained the difficulties in getting the expedition off the ground. “When I first had this idea, it was difficult to get started. I used all my leave from work and my life savings to train and to get to Antarctica. I found it tough. To see the reaction was so incredibly heart-warming.”

Read the full Queen's Birthday Honours List here