News In Depth
Prince backs Antarctic charity trek
Prince William has given his backing to a team taking part in a race to the South Pole to raise money for young people's homelessness charity Centrepoint.
The prince, who is patron of the charity, said they would be competing in "one of the most punishing and inhospitable environments in the world".
The three men aim to raise ?250,000 by completing the Extreme World Races Centenary Race to the South Pole.
The endurance test is set to begin on December 14 - the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen's victory against Captain Robert Falcon Scott in their own race to the South Pole.
Andrew Carnie, 36, who was born in Lancashire and now lives in London, said he and team mates Jason Bolton, 33, and Ben Boyne, 32, were "honoured" to have royal support.
They will be competing against international polar experts and explorers in the six-week race, pulling 70kg of kit for 16 hours every day, in temperatures plummeting to minus 50C.
In a video message recorded at St James's Palace, William said: "Being the patron of Centrepoint is an extremely rewarding experience and each year I am overwhelmed by the lengths individuals go to support the charity's vital work.
"There is no better example of the dedication of Centrepoint supporters than the entry of a Centrepoint team into the 2011 South Pole Race. The South Pole Race is arguably the toughest endurance race on Earth."
It will be the third time the Antarctic race will take place, the second having been in 2009 when presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic rower James Cracknell were narrowly defeated by a Norwegian team.
William added: "Team Centrepoint's commitment to such a gruelling challenge is an inspiration to all and I urge you to support them.
"Most importantly, by supporting Team Centrepoint, you will be helping young people when they need it most. I would like to wish the team the very best of luck."
Mr Carnie said: "We are very honoured to have Prince William's backing on our endeavour. Centrepoint is a fantastic charity and we are proud to be able to compete on this historic race for such a great cause."
Prince William's brother Harry arrived back in the UK on Saturday after spending four days trekking to the North Pole with a group of wounded servicemen.
The prince spent three days training with the group last week at the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and even jumped into sub zero Arctic water as part of his preparations while kitted out in an immersion suit.
The group is aiming to raise ?2 million for the Walking With The Wounded charity.