about us





our story

The Antarctic Fire Angels (AFA) was born at the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) Training and Development event in 2019.

Keynote speaker, Sophie Montange from the Army’s Ice Maiden team said that, “We wanted to show women what women are capable of.” This statement, along with Sophie’s infectious passion was the inspiration behind our whole expedition.

The plan was to take a team of female firefighters across Antarctica “To inspire women and girls to achieve their ambitions.” Throughout this journey the AFA team will share their reasons for taking on Antarctica and what they hope to achieve.

In October 2019, the AFA’s had their first team meeting and they were all determined to make this happen. By November 2019, the team went live and the journey has snowballed from there!

The AFA team are on their way to making history, all thanks to one team of women inspiring other women.

“Ordinary women doing extraordinary things.”

The Angels

Georgina Gilbert

George is co-founder of the Antarctic Fire Angels and Team Leader of the Wales team known as WAFA. She has been a firefighter for 20 years and currently serves with South Wales Fire and Rescue service...


Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe

From playing international sport to working in typically male dominated environments Bex knows no boundaries when it comes to...


support TEAM

Nikki Upton

London Firefighter and Expedition Support

Nikki was an original member of the team since its inception in 2019 until just recently in May 2023. She was an integral member, completing all training expeditions alongside Bex, Becky and George, including the Hardangervidda National Park in Norway in February.

It was on that particular expedition where Nikki suffered from frostnip after 2 weeks at nearly -30c and following that experience, unfortunately had to withdraw from the Antarctic Expedition.

Nikki suffers with a circulatory condition called Raynauds, which means that the likehood of her getting frostbite and potentially losing fingers in the harsh conditions of Antarctica is too much of a risk for her and the remaining members of the team. She will continue to support the team from warmer climates, running the website plus the social media accounts alongside Emily.

Read more of her story here…

Emily Butler

London Firefighter and Expedition Support

Emily has been one of the teams biggest supporters since its inception in 2019. She was an expedition member of the team for over a year and completed multiple training expeditions alongside Nikki, Bex, Becky and George, until making the decision in February 2023 to not continue on with the expedition owing to her mental health.

We as a team are strong advocates for mental health and appreciate Emily’s decision was an incredibly tough and brave one to make. We will always support her in everything she does and she is still very much a member of the team, even though she may not be coming to Antarctica.

She now supports the team behind the scenes and on social media, helping them reach their goal of the Antarctic. She continues to smash stereotypes by being a female firefighter, farmer and all-round inspiration. Read more of her story here…

Elissa Pedone

Team Operations Manager

Elissa first got in touch with us in 2019 after finding our story on social media. She initially asked if we needed a blog writer as she has a keen interest in writing – but she quickly took on more roles in helping us plan our expedition, and she bacame indespensible to us! She is now our Team Operations Manager; helping us book events and manage our schedules, as well as helping us find sponsorship.

She has been on her own mental health journey, and loved the idea of working with a team so rooted in creating positive change.

Elissa has a full time job and assists us in a purely voluntary way, and dedicates her time out of the kindness of her heart. We are priviledged to have her as part of the team, even if she does think we’re all still bonkers for taking on such a challenge!


Lorraine Kelly Smith

British broadcaster – Presenter of Lorraine on ITV

Lorraine has been a strong advocate for Women’s Rights for decades, and as a big fan of Antarctica herself, we are delighted to have her on board as an Ambassador!

In her own words, she says “I am so in awe of these amazing women who will be undergoing such a gruelling challenge that will help a brilliant charity and inspire other women of all ages.”

Dany Cotton

Retired London Fire Commissioner

Dany was a pioneer for women in the fire service; shaping the way for many more to come, and her passion for creating opportunities for female firefighters is infectious!

In her own words, she says “I am so proud and honoured to be an Ambassador for the Antarctic Fire Angels. This amazing group of inspirational women are challenging stereotypes and being outstanding role models to show women and girls that they can achieve their dreams.”


Conquer Antarctica

We are training to ski 1,130 Km from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in November 2023. This journey will be unassisted and unsupported, pulling 85+ Kg pulks (supply sleds) in temperatures as low as -50c with possible wind speeds of over 60 mph in approximately 45 days. That’s 25Km every day!

Conquering this route using mind and muscle power alone will be a World’s First, as this has never been achieved by an Emergency Services team before.

To make this incredible expedition happen, we need to raise £20,000 to support us with transport, equipment, nutrition, technology and specialist technical support.


We will be raising vital funds for our nominated charity:

Your help will enable us to make our vision a reality and assist people in emergency services that are living with trauma and injury.

Empowering women

We aim to eradicate the gender stereotypes that can stop young women from entering male dominated industries.

We want to support women and girls to have a career in whatever they choose, and know that they are capable of anything they set their minds to!




This is about being visible role models – the women we wish we had to look up to when we were growing up.

If a little girl grows up in a world where she only sees male firefighters, she won’t know it’s something she is more than capable of doing too. 

We intend on being as visible as possible in order to change that.

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