Fiennes’ praise for steel firm

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Veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has emailed a north Derbyshire steel firm to thank them for their ‘brilliant engineering’.

William Twigg, based at Matlock, designed and fabricated the 14 special steel sledges, known as skoots, which are playing a vital role in the explorer’s expedition to the Antarctic.

Sir Ranulph had to be airlifted to safety after suffering severe frostbite – although the trip is continuing without him.

The sledges were used to transport fuel for caterpillar tractors on the 2,000-mile journey across the polar icecap that could make exploration history.

Sir Ranulph said: “The expedition is carrying on exactly as planned and on schedule to complete the first mechanised winter traverse of Antarctica and to complete our science, charity and educational programmes.”