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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 21:26 GMT
Explorer couple reunited at pole
Mike and Fiona Thornewill at the South Pole (photo courtesy of Scot Jackson)
Fiona had to wait 18 days at the South Pole
A woman who set a record walking to the South Pole has been reunited with her husband in the Antarctic.

Polar explorer Fiona Thornewill, 37, hugged and kissed her husband Mike as he completed his own expedition.

Speaking to BBC News Online by satellite phone, she said: "It was just amazing to see him... there was a hug and a big kiss."

Mrs Thornewill became the first UK woman to walk solo and unaided to the pole in early January.

She broke the previous record by covering the 700-mile course in 42 days.

Polar hug

Mike Thornewill, a 41-year-old Nottinghamshire policeman, arrived at the South Pole with five companions.

He travelled a different route to his wife following in the tracks of British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who made the trip more than a century ago.

Fiona and Mike Thornewill hug at the South Pole (photo courtesy of Scot Jackson)
It is very cold here, and with quite a breeze, the temperature with wind chill is -50C
Mike Thornewill, polar explorer
He had hoped to meet his wife earlier, but his party was delayed by bad weather and illness as one of his fellow adventurers was hit by virus and altitude sickness and had to be airlifted out.

That meant his wife, who has also pulled a sled to the North Pole and made a previous trip to the South Pole, had to wait for the reunion.

Mr Thornewill said: "I was over the moon when I finally got here and saw Fiona."

He and his team celebrated their arrival by cooking beef burgers.

The pair will fly back in the UK within one or two weeks, depending on weather conditions.

Mrs Thornewill had been awaiting her husband's arrival for 18 days.

She said: "I have made a lot of friends here and have spent a lot of time reading.

"I have also been catching up on sleep because I did not sleep much during the expedition."

The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan
"She offered to call the children from the South Pole"

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