An East Sussex man has become the youngest person to reach the South Pole on his own and unsupported.
Scott Sears, 27, achieved his goal on Christmas Day after trekking solo through the frozen wilderness for more than five weeks.
The British Army officer, from Barcombe, is the brother-in-law of tennis star Andy Murray and negotiated 700 miles of Antarctic plateau, perilous crevasse fields – enormous cracks in the ice that can be hundreds of metres deep – and glaciers.
Lieutenant Sears, of the 1st Bn Royal Gurkha Rifles, raised more than £30,000 for the Ghurka Welfare Trust and schools destroyed in the 2015 Nepal earthquake disaster.
The huge challenge required two years of planning and training. It saw him endure temperatures that fell below -30C (-20F) on the 38-day trek.
The weather closed in for an extended period when he trudged in almost zero visibility, when he could see only the tips of his skis.
The 6ft 5ins tall soldier is the younger brother of Kim, who married Murray in 2015, and son of Nigel and Leonore Sears.
He pulled a sledge for 12 hours a day across the Antarctic that contained all his food, fuel and equipment. It weighed more than 100kg (15st 10.4lbs) – 99.7kg (220lbs) heavier than Lt Sears himself.
The ‘Antarctic Ghurka’ is three years younger than the previous South Pole record holder and said the achievement would take a few weeks to sink in after being alone on his epic journey for nearly six weeks.
Before setting off, Lt Sears said: “I grew up reading Sir Ranulph Fiennes and was gripped by the sheer toughness both physically and mentally required to survive in the polar regions.”
“I’ve always been very interested about my own personal limits and an Antarctica solo appealed to me as the best possible way to push them to the extreme.”