Polar explorer stays cool during pupils’ questions

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‘HOW long do you have to take your fingers out of your gloves to get frostbite?’

This was just one of the many questions thrown at Gosport’s very own Antarctic explorer when he visited his old school.

Former pupil and polar explorer Ian Prickett returns to Brockhurst Junior School in Gosport to talk to children about his forthcoming expedition across Antarctica with Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (left to right), Kai Diani (nine), Phoebe Kelly (nine), Amber Stewart (10), and Kieran Lang (nine). 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (124009-1)

Former pupil and polar explorer Ian Prickett returns to Brockhurst Junior School in Gosport to talk to children about his forthcoming expedition across Antarctica with Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (left to right), Kai Diani (nine), Phoebe Kelly (nine), Amber Stewart (10), and Kieran Lang (nine). 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (124009-1)

Pupils at Brockhurst Junior School, in Avery Lane, jumped at the chance to quiz Ian Prickett, 35, a member of the Coldest Journey expedition.

A former apprentice at Portsmouth Dockyard in the ship repairs department, Ian wowed youngsters at the school with the details of how he will walk for six months across Antarctica during its winter, where temperatures will plummet to minus 90 degrees Celsius, on the expedition led by the intrepid Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

And lucky pupils got the chance to try on Ian’s cold-beating expedition clothing, learning about the layering system as they did so.

Year five pupil Kai Diani, 9, said: ‘It looks like it’s really warm but I think it might be still cold.’

Fellow year five pupil, Amber Stewart, 10, said: ‘I think it’s kind of scary because it’s cold and everything. He could end up losing his arms and legs – I’d never do that.’

Teachers at the school arranged a day of activities around Ian’s visit, forming one of their regular Super Learning Days, which sees normal classes suspended, exploring a specific topic.

It saw the pupils clamber blindfolded across an obstacle course in PE class, examine habitats in science and spending time in ICT class learning how to blog, which Ian himself will do on his journey.

Ian currently works at the British Antarctic Survey at Halley Research Station, on the Brunt Ice Shelf.

Ian said: ‘When I was at school I never knew I’d be doing anything anywhere along these lines.

‘I enjoyed using my hands, I enjoyed building things, I was always out playing and getting muddy, I was never one for computer games to be honest. I wanted to be outside causing mayhem normally.’