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Former Thanet resident polar explorer Felicity Aston given MBE in New Year Honours list

Felicity Aston
Felicity Aston

An intrepid explorer who became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica has been recognised in the New Year Honours.

Former Birchington resident Felicity Aston, 37, has been awarded an MBE for services to Polar Exploration.

She said: “It’s really quite emotional actually.

“It’s surprising how much it means that what you’re doing has been noticed and it’s been given this stamp of approval to say that it’s appreciated - you can’t really ask for more than that.

“For everybody, whatever you’re doing, getting recognition for the effort you’ve put in feels really wonderful.

“It came completely out of the blue because quite a lot of time has passed since the last expedition that achieved a lot of notice, so it was a real surprise.

“I think my family are going to be really proud - I don’t think it matters how old you get, going home to tell your mum and dad something you know they’re going to be proud of gets you very emotional.”

Felicity studied astrophysics at UCL before doing a masters in applied meteorology at Reading. She moved to Thanet in 2006 but now lives in Hildenborough in north Kent.

Physical training for her polar expedition consisted of heading down to Epple Bay and then jogging the path behind the sea defences on the Viking Coastal Trail.

And Felicity is excited about her visit to Buckingham Palace.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be a wonderful day to be able to take my parents with me, it’s a dream come true.

“I have no idea who put me forward for the MBE, I hope at some stage I get to find out so I can thank them because it’s an amazing thing.”

Prior to her Antarctic expedition actionwoman Felicity raced in the Canadian Arctic, led a team of women across the inland ice of Greenland, led a record-making team to the South Pole, searched for meteorite craters in Quebec, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, crossed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, completed the infamous Marathon Des Sables across the Moroccan Sahara and spent three years living and working in the Antarctic.

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