Former Suffolk boy reaches Pole

A FORMER Suffolk schoolboy is part of a British military team which has become the first service personnel to reach the South Pole for almost 100 years.

A FORMER Suffolk schoolboy is part of a British military team which has become the first service personnel to reach the South Pole for almost 100 years.

The Polar Quest team followed in the footsteps of legendary adventurer Scott of the Antarctic, completing their 1,450-mile journey at 2.18am yesterday.

On reaching the pole, they flew the flags of the United Kingdom, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and a replica of Captain Scott's flag.

Among the four-strong team is former Farlingaye High School pupil Major Paul Mattin, 39, who is in the Royal Marines.

His proud parents Roger and Judy, who still live in Woodbridge, spoke of their delight at his success.

Mrs Mattin said: “We were really thrilled to bits they had actually made it and it went extremely well. We've been worried because there are crevices and all sorts but they seem to have coped really well.

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“They are really skilled in this field and all have worked in ice and snow. They've been training all year for this.

“He said the last 24-hours were the worst, really hard-going. They had set up camp and it's -40C.”

Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott's uncompleted venture in 1912 was the last time service personnel were involved in a trip to the South Pole. This year's expedition was led by Captain Sean Chapple, of the Royal Marines.

His team will hold a remembrance service today for all those who have lost their lives, including all five members of Scott's 1912 expedition, in the exploration of the north and south poles.

They will then embark on their 1,450-mile return journey, using giant kites to harness the wind and take them home in between 15 and 20 days.

They aim to become the first British military team to complete a return journey unsupported to the South Pole.

Each man is pulling a sledge weighing 20 stone plus, which contains everything they need to survive, as they ski and walk in temperatures as low as -27C.

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