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An award-winning member of our case-management team has written an inspirational and uplifting book about overcoming adversity and what you can learn when things are heading for disaster – or a potential disaster of our own making.

Titled Plan D: Building Your Resilience in the Face of Adversity, it explores the unique skills that Paul Vicary developed from operating on the frontline of war, immersing in polar exploration, and engaging with the frontline of climate change. It details at length his experiences in a polar expedition that was planned with military precision yet saw the team’s resilience and adaptability tested to the absolute limits.

Vicary, 51, works part-time for us as a veteran liaison officer, in addition to being a co-founder and director of Hereford-based X-Calibre Mental Health (XCMH), which delivers mental health training and consultancy to organisations across the UK. And, last year, he won the national title of ‘Heropreneur of the Year’ in recognition of his work on mental health throughout the pandemic.

He explained: “The book describes an expedition to the geographic North Pole, for which we had planned meticulously, covering all possible eventualities … or so we thought. Once plan A failed, we moved to plan B, and the book covers everything that we underwent when we had to resort to an as-yet unwritten Plan D.

Explorer on icy landscape
Paul Vicary flies the flag during his expedition - Help for Heroes

“Whether it’s an unexpected crisis that throws the world spinning off its axis, challenges with your mental health or coping with physical health challenges, this book can inspire you with what’s possible for you to overcome on the battlefield of life.

“It details how to build resilience and adaptability when things don’t go to plan, how to find the strength to conquer life’s most formidable challenges, provides powerful strategies to help you cope in a crisis, and offers insights into leadership and teamwork that could save your life.

“And, arguably, most important of all, it tells the story of the effects of the global climate crisis which should make us realise how fragile we actually are.”

A veteran of 35 years’ military service, Vicary has been exposed to the extremes of the planet, where the environment was also the enemy, testing his own mental resilience and mental health. He has also walked unsupported to both the geographic North and South Poles, as well as safely guiding groups in the Himalayas to Everest Base Camp, helping other people achieve their own personal goals.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, described by Guinness World Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer” and a patron of the expedition covered by the book, welcomed its publication.

He said: “Plan D depicts a modern-day polar story which, although it didn’t go according to plan, is worth telling to understand why this happened.

“The team’s mission was to report back what they witnessed during the expedition as they persevered to get onto the Arctic Ocean and to reach the geographic North Pole. This book is part of that report, describing and illustrating what they witnessed and, most importantly, what is happening around the polar region.”

Plan D is published by Words By Design and costs £15. ISBN10 1914002040; ISBN13 9781914002045. And £1 from every sale goes to Help for Heroes.