HeadLine: POLAR COUPLE PUT THE BUBBLY ON ICE
Daily Record, 06/01/2000, p33
by SHAUN MILNE
A BRITISH couple have renewed their wedding vows at the South Pole
after a record-breaking trek.
Fiona and Mike Thorne made history with the special ceremony just hours
after completing the gruelling 730-mile hike.
The Nottingham pair are the first married couple to make it to either
And Fiona became one of the first two British women to reach the South
Pole on foot.
The incredible effort was marked by the ceremony in the snow at the US
Policeman Mike wore his uniform flown out specially for the occasion.
But the team of nine had eaten the wedding cake during their 61-day
Fiona, 33, a recruitment consultant, and Mike, who turned 37 during the
trip, braved temperatures as low as minus 48C to walk for up to 14
hours a day.
Speaking by satellite phone, Fiona said: “I cannot believe it is over.
I am totally exhausted and totally elated.
“All day I have been able to ignore the pain from my bleeding feet and
the infected sores on my legs, knowing that it would soon be over.”
Mike, who struggled to keep up at times after injuring his knee, added:
“It’s just amazing to be here. I am very sorry I cannot say any more at
the moment because my mouth and hands have started to freeze.”
After thawing out over a hot meal, cooked by staff at the US base
there, they gathered back on the ice to renew their vows.
Fellow traveller Graham Murphy, an Australian, performed the service in
front of the other six members of the expedition. Among them was
Catherine Hartley, a 34-year-old TV stage manager from south London who
had shrugged off a severe case of frostbite and a near-fatal fall down
a crevasse during the trip.
Catherine, the only member of the party with no hiking experience, was
on the verge of being airlifted out with frostbitten fingers but
bravely carried on.
Her battle against the elements allowed her to share the record with
Fiona as the only British women to have made it to the South Pole on
During the trek, each member of the team pulled a sledge weighing
150lbs and used skis with special skins allowing them to grip ice and
The route took the party to heights of more than 9000ft, across
formidable glaciers, ice caps and mountain passes.
Last night Fiona’s mum, Mary Alton, was delighted by news of the
Mary, 61, said: “For the last few days, all she has been talking about
is when she can become a girl again and warm herself under the
“I knew Fiona would follow Mike to the end of the world, which she now
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