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Committee of the Friends of SPRI

Committee of the Friends of SPRI

The Committee of the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute comprises the following members:

John Shears (Chair)

  • Elected to Committee: November 2016
  • Elected as Chair: November 2018
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2022John Shears

John is a polar geographer and environmentaI scientist, with over 25 years of experience of working in both Antarctica and the Arctic, first with the British Antarctic Survey and then with the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

John was also an environmental and operations adviser to the UK government in Antarctic Treaty discussions for more than 20 years, and was a UK Antarctic Treaty Inspector in 2005, 2012 and 2015.

In 2017, John started up his own company, Shears Polar Limited, to provide expert lecturing, expedition guiding, and consultancy services for projects in the polar regions. Currently, he is leading the international Weddell Sea Expedition voyage to Antarctica in early 2019.

Susan Rose (Vice Chair)


  • Elected to Committee: November 2014
  • Elected as Vice Chair: November 2017
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2021

Combining the traditional with the contemporary Susan Rose is an English bone china designer who is passionate about our Industrial Heritage. Susan runs the business from a renovated mill on the river Nene, dividing her time between Stoke on Trent and her Northamptonshire studio.

Passionate about the countryside and rural life, her home provides constant inspiration for her designs with a love of history, and nature. Recently Susan has developed the idea of a mug full of History, which tells the history or an organization or individual. Her love of bird watching, photography, gardening and animal husbandry have become a way of life, which over the years have become inextricably mixed with her art and her belief that her designs should inspire, create and tell a story for future generations.

Susan completed a foundation course at Chelsea School of Art before graduating from The Central School of Art and Design, London in 1982 with a BA in Graphic design, before working freelance for many years for such organisations such as The Falkland Island Company, General Trading Company, Sloane Square Tiles, Golfar & Hughes, The National Trust & Jane Churchill.

Susan is married to a Charles, a local GP and they have 2 sons, Jack and Harry. She is a keen gardener, knitter, photographer, bird watcher and lover of all things Cornish!

Lucy Carty

Lucy Carty

  • Elected to Committee: November 2016
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2020

Growing up in Northumberland and enjoying in particular, the stunning Northumbrian coast or trips to The Sottish Highlands and The Lake District, it was almost inevitable that Lucy would develop a love of landscape. After completing a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Newcastle University, she moved to London to work for Allen Pyke Associates in Kingston. But, it wasn't long before she decided to take a leap of faith and rekindle her love of art.

She was taught figurative sculpture at The Art Academy by Tanya Russell and Damian Fennell and it was here that a wonderful grounding in the importance of technique and the ultimate freedom that it can bring, when looking to explore new ideas, was instilled in her.

Intrigued by the notion of landscapes as palimpsests, which simultaneously reveal and obscure the stories of their creation, Lucy uses geological processes and various media to inspire her techniques and ideas. Finding enough time to allow for flowing and uninterrupted work can be challenging with a young family, so when inspiration hits, it is Lucy's husband who is often the first to feel it. She can suddenly disappear to her workshop for long periods of time and his patience and flexibility when this happens is something she has come to realise is invaluable!

Lucy's recent appointment as 2016 Artist in Residence for the FoSPRI offered her a truly precious opportunity to study the unique and breath-taking Antarctic landscape, but it also gave her something more. The people she has met through The Friends, their enthusiasm and their willingness to share such fascinating and important knowledge has been truly infectious and she hopes now, to be able to give a little bit back to the organisation that so generously took her under their wing.

Simon Culshaw

  • Elected to Committee: November 2016Simon
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2020

Simon served his apprenticeship with Alfred Holt and Co of Liverpool. After a time with New Zealand Shipping Company he joined the Falkland Islands Dependency Survey - British Antarctic Survey (BAS). In 1962 he joined RRS Shackleton, which started his interest in the hydrography and ice navigation. His last voyage South with BAS was in RRS John Biscoe, in 1973. During this period he spent 4 years at university.

Simon entered the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry via hydrographic surveying. He has piloted drilling rigs, towed and located structures and sub-sea pipelines on the seabed. This work took him worldwide, including the Arctic and Sub-Arctic.

Simon now runs C.T.S. Marine Consultants Ltd, a specialist consultancy engaged in forensic engineering and environmental affairs, land and marine boundary activities and emergency response planning. His latest activities have been the delimitation of an international marine boundary. Also has advised Governments on the problems of using river courses and other transient physical features to delimitate national and international boundaries. He has also been involved in developing hydrographic operations on Lake Victoria – Kenya. His other activities have included developing emergency response plans for the ports and coast of Nigeria.

Simon joined the City livery - Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM) via the Canadian Company of Master Mariners in 1996 and became a Warden in 1998. Simon was responsible for the original website and IT activities. As Warden in 2001 he championed the development of an MSc course in Maritime Operations and Management at City, University of London which is jointly run with HCMM. Simon became Master of the Honourable Company 1 May 2003.

Simon and his wife Patricia, originally a marine biologist and now a dyslexia specialist, started their married life in South East Asia before moving to Newfoundland. They now live in Chiswick, West London and have two grown up daughters.

Simon's current interests include the sea water quality of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic seas, the changing shapes of Arctic islands, hill walking and reading.

Christine Eckers

  • Elected to Committee: November 2017Christine
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2021

Originally from South Wales and now lives just outside Cambridge with her husband. She has always loved travelling and her childhood interest in the 'polar regions' was rekindled with a trip to Manitoba to see polar bears in the wild in 2014 and subsequently became a volunteer at the Polar Museum in Cambridge and joined the Friends of SPRI Committee in 2017.

She is an analytical chemist by training and worked for many years in the pharmaceutical industry, so is very interested in the scientific aspects of the work at SPRI. She has contributed to a number of scientific committees, is very experienced in organising national and international conferences and hopes to use this experience to help the organisation.

Her unfilled ambition is to visit Antarctica!

Garry Evenden (Treasurer)Garry

  • Elected to Committee: November 2017
  • Elected as treasurer : November 2018
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2022

Born in Carshalton Garry was employed by Crown Agents for 41 years, latterly as its Payroll Manager. Following retirement and keen to do some voluntary work the ideal place was in the museum at SPRI. Two museum volunteers are now on the Friends Committee.

Garrys interest in polar exploration was inspired by the Ladybird Book of Captain Scott, when in Junior School in the early sixties. Since then his interest has grown to a rather substantial library of books and ephemera on the polar regions.

A member of his local Baptist Church, serving in various capacities over the years, currently its bookkeeper. Other interests are sport and classical music, a long suffering supporter of West Bromwich Albion FC and a member of Surrey CCC.

Richard Ralph, CMG, CVO

  • Elected to Committee: January 2018
  • Retirement from committee: December 2021

richardRichard Ralph, read Politics at Edinburgh University, he is a retired member of HM Diplomatic Service. His career took him to South East Asia, Europe, Southern Africa, the United States, and South America. He was Ambassador successively to Latvia, Romania and Moldova, and Peru.

His interest in polar matters stems from three and a half years as Governor of the Falkland Islands and Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in 1996-99.

Ex-Officio Members of the Committee

Julian Dowdeswell

Julian Dowdeswell
  • Appointed to Committee: October 2002.
  • Ex-Officio, as Director of Institute

Julian's full biography is available.

Charlotte Connelly

Charlotte Connolly
  • Appointed to Committee: December 2015
  • Ex-Officio, as Curator of the Institutes Polar Museum

Charlotte's full biography is available.

Peter Lund

Peter Lund
  • Appointed to Committee: December 2015
  • Ex-Officio, as Librarian at the Institute

Peter's full biography is available.

Naomi Boneham

Naomi Boneham

  • Appointed to Committee: December 2010
  • Ex-Officio, as Archivist at the Institute
  • Naomi is the Minutes Secretary

Naomi's full biography is available.

Celene Pickard (Executive Secretary of the Friends & Membership Secretary)

Celene Pickard
  • Appointed as PA: March 2007
  • Appointed at Membership Secretaty: 2013
  • Previously served on the committee 2006-2009

Celene's early education in geography fuelled her passion for travel and all things 'polar'. She became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and travelled extensively in-between her career in the electronics industry. After having a family, she changed careers into the travel industry and has worked for many years as part of the 'operations team' at London Luton Airport.

As researcher to Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Celene spent 3 years of intensive polar and historical research, culminating in the publication of his book, "Captain Scott". This book proved to be a huge success; 'I feel deeply honoured to have been associated with such a highly acclaimed book, which has finally set the record straight in terms of Scott's reputation and good name', she says. In order to carry out the research, Celene looked to SPRI for resources, expertise, knowledge, and unlimited access to the archives - 'all of which were unfailingly offered'. In appreciation to all at SPRI, Celene hopes that as a Friends' Committee member she can now 'repay' the support and friendship that was so readily extended to her, as well as maintaining and developing her interests in the polar world.

Ieuan Hopkins (BAS Rep) Ieuan Hopkins

  • Elected to Committee: November 2014
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2018
  • Re-elected: November 2018
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2022

Ieuan has always been interested in anthropology and visual communication, and has studied both as an under- and post-graduate at the University of Durham and University College, London. He gained his master's in Archives and Records Management from UCL in 2005.

He has worked in a variety archives, including the Churchill Archives Centre and the V&A Museum of Childhood (where he experienced the ups and downs of curating a large travelling exhibition). He also spent 2 years at the Parliamentary Archives, House of Lords, as an Assistant Records Manager.

First working in the BAS Archives Service for a year in 2006/07, he returned in June 2013 as the Archives Manager.

He's very much looking forward to the opportunity of working with the Committee, which will help to maintain the important links between SPRI and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).


Hopkins, Ieuan (2008). Places From Which to Speak. Journal of the Society of Archivists. V.29 no.1 pp.83-109

British Antarctic Survey Archives Service

Co-opted Members of the Committee

None at present.