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SPRI Review 2007: Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Two dog-sledging treks in the Arctic during 2007 contributed hugely to our fund-raising for the Institute. Membership continued to grow from 600 at the beginning of the year to 633. Highlights of the year included the Friends reception at the exhibition of Edward Seago's paintings of Antarctica at Bonhams in London, when we were able to present a first instalment of £25,000 towards the newly established SPRI Museum Acquisition Fund. This support has subsequently proved beneficial in attracting matching funds from other grant-giving bodies as well as enabling the acquisition of several smaller items for the museum from time to time. A further commitment of £25,000 was made later in the year.

Our Summer Lunch was well attended, and allowed Friends the opportunity to view the Keith Shackleton Retrospective exhibition on display in the foyer at the time. The lunch was notable for the new sledgers' group attendance, including Bob Russell, new 90° Club member, and Penny Smith, GMTV presenter.

The Director receives a 'large cheque' from Robin Back
Image as described adjacent

Our regular Lent and Michaelmas term lecture series (organised by Celene Pickard) were well attended and covered a wide variety of topics. Committee members were invited to an Affiliates Day on board HMS Endurance in Portsmouth in September. Our AGM in November included an inspiring fund-raising lecture given by Tony Soper, and the year ended with an evening in Dyers Hall, London to introduce the prospective 2008 sledgers to each other. A representative from Across the Divide was on hand to explain what sledgers should expect, before a buffet supper and presentations of prints to former sledgers.

The Friends Committee remains active. Wendy Driver retired from the committee after four years, and has provided valuable help on the publicity front. Rod Downey of BAS also stood down, as did Rossie Ogilvie from the University's Development Office. We are very grateful for their insights and contributions. Elected at the 2007 AGM, we welcomed Jane Chisholm and Alison Jolley to the committee, and also Ellen Bazeley-White, Archives Manager at BAS.

The workload of the Friends has grown with increased membership and new fund-raising activities. Celene Pickard was, therefore, appointed during the year as PA to the Friends, providing us with a permanent secretariat for the first time. Judy Skelton has also become the Treasurer to the Friends. Thanks are due to all the Friends for their support of our activities over the year and especially to those who served on the committee, our volunteers at lectures and those who assisted at Friends events.

Robin Back (Chair, Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute)