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SPRI Review 2005: Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

A watercolour of the 'Great Ice Barrier' or Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, by E.A. Wilson from the Institute's collection
Image as described adjacent

2005 was a very busy year for the Friends, with our 528 members rising admirably to the challenges that we faced. The £50,000 appeal in honour of the late Librarian of the Institute, William Mills, to endow The William Mills Library Acquisitions Fund, is now completed. When the fund closed on 31 December the total stood at £51,593 - an extraordinary achievement. Many thanks to all who contributed.

Additionally, the Friends donated £21,285 to the Institute during the university year 2004-2005 (£15,000 for the Ponting negatives; £4,000 for the provision of Library books; £2,160 for the purchase of the Mott Collection and £125 towards the travel costs of a visiting Russian scholar).

In the process of raising considerable sums, members also enjoyed numerous activities throughout 2005. As well as our regular events, the Friends' Public Lectures, (organized by Bob Headland); the Summer Lunch and Polar Book Den; and the AGM and Autumn Buffet; we enjoyed a fundraising Evening with Peter Hillary; a live concert of The Songs of the Morning (performed by Lieut. Doorly's grandson, New Zealand Baritone, Roger Wilson); a visit to HMS Endurance whilst she was docked in Portsmouth; and Aiden Dooley's powerful play, Tom Crean: Antarctic Explorer.

This year also saw a major review and modernisation of the Friends' membership structure and accompanying literature. A new, tiered structure was defined, to suit all pockets, whilst improving benefits for members. The Committee further improved the means for the recognition of volunteers and long-term supporters. As a result of these changes, we welcomed members, old and new, to the Polar Circle, to the 80 Degree and 90 Degree Clubs; volunteers Sally Stonehouse, Ann Todd, Ann Bean, Neil Turner and Judy Skelton were presented with Volunteer prints in recognition of their service; Dr. John Levinson, was awarded 90 Degree Club Membership for his donation of the Shackleton flag from the Nimrod Expedition; and the rarely given Honorary Life Membership of the Friends was awarded to Bob Headland, the retiring Institute Archivist and Curator, for his exceptional service. The Committee also introduced a form of recognition for those companies and Trusts that support our work for the Institute, the Executive Friends. Our thanks go to all those companies and Trusts who supported us during 2005. This year also saw substantial improvements to our website: http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/friends.

Thanks are due to all the Friends for their considerable support throughout 2005 and in particular to those volunteers who served on the Committee, assisted at Friends' events and those who worked in the Archives, Library and Picture Library.

Dr David M. Wilson (Chair, Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute)