TEARS of joy were shed as a team of amateur polar explorers fulfilled a lifelong dream.

Led by Cotswolds man Lt Col Henry Worsley, who grew up in Hatherop, the three men have spent weeks travelling over 900 miles hauling 300lb sledges and braving temperatures as low as -52°C.

But their reward on Sunday was to finally finish what their ancestors started 100 years ago as they reached the South Pole unaided.

In 1908 Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1908 Nimrod Expedition, cheated death and turned back 97 miles from the South Pole. At the weekend the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition, made up of descendants of the original crew, safely arrived at their destination.

Speaking from the Pole via satellite link Lt Col Worsley, a descendant of Shackleton’s skipper Frank Worsley, said: "We’re absolutely ecstatic.

"The past 65 days have been physically gruelling and mentally exhausting, but this moment makes it all very, very worthwhile. Ever since I was a child, completing this journey has been my lifetime ambition.

"To stand here, with Shackleton’s own compass, which never made it to this point all those years ago, is a humbling experience."

For more information on the historic trek and to find out about the foundation set up to celebrate the legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton visit www.shackletonfoundation.org