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SPRI Review 2008: Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

The Friends 2008 sledging team in Norway with dogs
Image as described adjacent

The Friends' sledging activities in Norway during 2008 raised record sums exceeding £80,000. This extraordinary generosity has enabled the Friends to meet their match funding commitments to the Institute in support of Heritage Lottery Fund grants for both the Museum redesign and refurbishment project and the expansion of the Institute's Inuit art collection. The sledging programme has given rise also to some further polar-orientated efforts by those who took part. Bob Russell (2007 sledger) is leading his own private trek to the North Pole in April 2009 and, at the other end of the globe, Angie Butler has recently made and installed a bronze plaque in the Church on South Georgia to the memory of Frank Wild, RNVR, CBE, FRGS who accompanied Ernest Shackleton on no less than five polar expeditions.

The Lent and Michaelmas term lecture series was well attended and covered a wide range of topics. We were delighted to welcome the South Georgia Association in February when we enjoyed an evening of films of the activities at the station during its heyday. Other topics included the Museum's expansion plans, Tom Crean, Kayaking in the Antarctic Peninsula and Dr Mike Stroud's 'From Ice to Dust'; an illuminating insight into extreme suffering in polar and desert climates. In November, Friends and guests were treated to a revival of an 1830s art form, the toy theatre, with a production of 'Captain Ross or the Hero of the Arctic Regions'.

In July 2008 Wendy Driver was elected Vice Chairman of the Friends and has rejoined our committee. We also welcome Gloria Ward. Gloria brings great expertise in the travel industry and we look forward to her insights. At the same time we welcome Duncan Lawie whilst saying farewell and thank you to Pauline Young and Paul Davies. Pauline remains very much involved, however, as does David Wilson, who has rejoined our committee as Scott Centenary coordinator at the Institute.

Finally, I must record my and the Committee's thanks to Celene Pickard, PA to the Friends. This role is ever more important as we develop more sophisticated fund-raising tools. I am also most grateful to all the members of the committee and to the staff at the Institute for their dedicated support over the year.

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

The Friends 2008 sledging team in Norway with dogs