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Princess of Wales joins Army's polar world record breaker for inspirational school visit

The Princess of Wales joined the Army’s polar world record breaker Captain Preet Chandi to inspire children at a school in Derby.

Polar Preet ran a competition ahead of her incredible trek, which saw her post the longest unsupported solo ski expedition in history, despite more challenging conditions than normal in Antarctica.

She asked schools to send in logo designs inspired by her quest to cross the continent, and the winning entries were made into stickers for the 19-stone sledge which Preet pulled behind her with all her supplies on the 71-day, 922-mile journey.

Her Royal Highness, as patron of the expedition, joined Preet on Wednesday for the first visit of a UK tour of schools, whose designs were chosen, in her hometown of Derby at Landau Forte College.

Preet, who cites wanting to inspire her niece as the original motivation for showing that people can push themselves beyond their own boundaries and the constraints of their personal situations to achieve their dreams, shared her inspirational story with the delighted youngsters.

It was such a privilege to have The Princess come to my hometown." Captain Preet Chandi

She said: “It was important for me to bring people along with me on this expedition and I loved taking the winning school logos with me to Antarctica.

“Organising the school competition was close to my heart and it was such a privilege to have The Princess come to my hometown too.”

Alongside Preet, The Princess, presented an award to pupil Simrat Soggi, who created the winning design, and spoke to a group of Year 11 and Year 13 students about building resilience and mental wellbeing in all aspects of life, and the benefits of outdoor pursuits.

She then joined students as they took part in activities which brought the expedition and how Preet prepared for it to life, including examples of how she trained, such as pulling tyres behind her which Preet does to simulate dragging her sledge, and the types of food she consumed.

It followed a special homecoming event in London on Tuesday where Preet, an Army physiotherapist with the Regional Rehabilitation Unit based at Halton, and guest speakers outlined the enormity of her achievements, described by Steve Jones of Antarctic Logistics Expeditions as one of the most remarkable feats of human endurance in history.

Preet also holds records as the first woman to ski solo to the South Pole twice, which she achieved in just 12 months, and the first woman of colour to reach the pole solo and unsupported last year.

At this year's Women in Defence Awards, she scooped both Woman of the Year and the Inspirational category. Having missed the ceremony while in Antarctica, these were presented to her at Tuesday's event by Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith.