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Previous members of the Friends' Committee

Previous members of the Friends' Committee

The following are members of the Committee of the Friends who have retired since the year 2000, listed most recent first. We thank them for their service.

Tina Balchin (Treasurer)

  • Elected to Committee: November 2012, elected treasurer in 2015
  • Retirement from committee: December 2016 tina

Tina came to live in England in the early seventy's after being brought up mainly in Canada, and so is not alien to snow! Her father's employment meant moving around Canada and Europe. These experiences, Tina believes, fuelled her interest in geography and history. In adulthood she has been very fortunate to have travelled extensively to every continent, widening her knowledge of the problems and social issues around the globe. As a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society she has met many interesting and inspirational people.

In 2006 Tina attended a Friends' lecture by Ran Fiennes and, with his encouragement, joined the Friends, a very fortuitous decision!

Tina has travelled high above the Arctic Circle, including expeditions by dog sled in both Norway and Finland and adjacent to the Russian border. Her main South Polar experience was as part of the FoSPRI Scott Centenary Voyage in 2011 which started in New Zealand and visited the sub Antarctic Islands and, ultimately, Antarctica where the beauty and danger of the Antarctic has left a wonderful and indelible memory. Visits to research stations and the huts at Cape Adare and the Ross Sea enabled her to absorb the aura left by those brave and inspiring explorers and is something that she will always cherish.

Since 2010 Tina has been privileged to be a volunteer in the Polar Museum meeting, guiding and discussing many interesting polar related topics with visitors. Joining the Friends of SPRI Committee has enabled her to become more actively involved in supporting the Institute's unparalleled work.

Bill Redway

Bill Redway

  • Elected to Committee June 2011
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2015

Bill joins the committee as Media and Marketing coordinator, after a career in film making.

I rediscovered the great stories of the Heroic Age of exploration driving around the Sussex countryside listening to Ranulph Fiennes reciting his book about Captain Scott on the CD player. This inspired the purchase of numerous books and films about Scott, Shackleton, Crean, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Amundsen, Perry and Franklin (not forgetting the North and the two ships lost which lent their names to the great Antarctic mountains, Erebus and Terror) and an increasing fascination with Polar exploration. A visit a few years ago to the museum at SPRI was a marvellous experience, and seeing artifacts and possessions of these great men was no less than entrancing. I also discovered that I live close to Cherry's home in Hertfordshire, and often walked the same paths trod by Apsley on visits to his friend George Bernard Shaw while writing The Worst Journey in the World.

As a documentary film producer for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel, with a perpetual eye for a subject and a story, and a habitual traveller to wild places in many parts of the world, I have a particular interest in being involved with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute. In television I have specialised in science education and working with SPRI's outreach department I have been able to use my experience to develop a series of programmes for BBC Schools which focus on the current research of young Polar scientists. While not yet committed to it the BBC are taking a strong interest in this project.

It is a privilege to serve on the Committee and I look forward to being actively involved over the coming months to further the work and aims of the Institute.

Judy Skelton (Finance Support)

Judy Skelton
  • Elected to committee: December 2010 to continue as treasurer
  • Retirement from committee due: December 2015
  • Previously served on the Committee from 2002-2005 and 2007-2010

Judy's educational background is in the sciences and social sciences and most of her career has been in international development, including living and working in some very low latitudes. Having all her life known vaguely about her grandfather's involvement with Scott's Discovery Expedition (Reginald Skelton was its Chief Engineer and official photographer), suddenly in 1997 she was seized with the need to find out all about it in detail. Since then she has spent a great deal of time at SPRI, reading in the archives, and this has led to the production of two books: The first with David Wilson in November 2001, Discovery Illustrated: Pictures from Captain Scott's First Antarctic Expedition; and the second in November 2004, The Antarctic Journals of Reginald Skelton: "Another Little Job for the Tinker".

Judy volunteers in the SPRI archives and is currently transcribing the Discovery journals of Michael Barne onto computer.

Jim McNeill

  • Elected to Committee: November 2010 & Co-opted November 2013
  • Retired: December 2014

Katie Walter (Student Rep)

Katie Walter

  • Elected to Committee: 2013
  • Retired: December 2014

Katie joined the committee in 2013 as the first student rep.

Grattan MacGiffin

Grattan McGiffin

  • Elected to Committee: November 2010 (Vice Chair) & Co-opted November 2013 (Vice Chair)
  • Retirede: December 2014

A Friends' sledger in 2007, Grattan has been coming back to the Institute ever since and is a particular fan of the Polar Museum. Working as a carbon offsets trader, Grattan has a keen understanding of climate change and the potential for irreversible destruction of the Polar Regions.

Grattan enjoys mountain trekking, real ale and following rugby and would love to retrace Shackleton's South Georgia traverse one day. As well as being a Friend, he is also a Fellow of the RGS which allows him to indulge his interest in far flung places and modern day explorers.

Ellen Bazeley-White

Ellen Bazeley-White
  • Elected to Committee: November 2010
  • Retired: December 2014
  • Previously served on committee as British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rep from 2008 to 2010

Ellen has supported science research by providing data and information management facilities to NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded scientists since 1997. She provided data management and web services to science projects at the NERC Centre for Population Biology (Imperial College London) until 2004. She then worked in the Antarctic Environmental Data Centre at BAS for two years coordinating data surveys and managed the BAS Archives Service for six years before becoming the Scientific Data Manager for BAS marine data in 2013. This role includes supporting marine biologists and physical oceanographers during their research season and Ellen works away for several months each year on the BAS Research Ship RRS James Clark Ross.

Ellen has also worked at a hands-on science centre and been a media fellow at the BBC. Ellen is particularly interested in the linking of polar archival and data collections and encouraging the re-use of data and information.

Ellen maintained the Friends of SPRI web pages.

Gloria Ward

  • Elected to Committee: January 2009
  • Retired: December 2012

Will Taunton-Burnett

  • Co-opted to Committee: April 2011
  • Retired: December 2012

Will led the Scott Cententary Sledge Pull, a sledge pull relay across the UK and the official youth event of the Scott Centenary Celebrations. A percentage of the funds raised through sledge pulls was donated to the Scott Polar Research Institute

Jane Chisholm

Jane Chisholm
  • Elected to Committee: January 2008
  • Retired: December 2011
  • Jane was Minutes Secretary

Jane has been a Polar enthusiast since the age of 10 when she discovered that Scott's Last Expedition made far more exciting and inspiring reading than any fiction. It also led her to an environmental consciousness and a love of wild open spaces. She took part in the Institute's first dog-sledging trip, in March 2006 and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.

Jane spent her childhood in Cambridge but left to study and to pursue a career in teaching music. She returned to live just south of the city 20 years ago and has continued her teaching career and brought up a family whilst escaping either to the hills, or to Polar literature, whenever she can.

Duncan Lawie

Duncan Lawie
  • Elected to Committee: January 2009
  • Retired: December 2010

Duncan Lawie grew up in tropical Australia and has been heading towards colder places ever since. He first crossed the Antarctic Circle in 2000 and dog-sledged inside the Arctic circle with the Friends' sponsored Dog Sledge in 2006. A keen birder, he has seen Penguins and Albatrosses in all climates, but loves those of South Georgia the best.

A degree in Computer Science from the University of Queensland eventually lead Duncan to an IT career, including a decade as a freelance working with dot-coms and banks. Now a Member of the British Computer Society and Chartered IT Professional, Duncan works with the technical infrastructure of a world-leading financial services company. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a regular reviewer of science fiction.

Wendy Driver

Wendy Driver
  • Elected to Committee as Vice-Chair: July 2008
  • Retired: December 2010
  • Previously served on the committee 2004-2007

Wendy is Deputy Travel Editor of The Mail on Sunday and has been interested in the polar regions for the last 10 years. Through her job she has a wide range of contacts amongst tour operators offering holidays to both the Arctic and Antarctic. She has travelled extensively and written features on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Ross Sea as well as visiting Churchill to see polar bears and the Arctic Circle in winter to see the Northern Lights. She has also visited sites in Scotland, Ireland and Norway connected with the Heroic Age of Exploration in Antarctica. She is a keen collector of Antarctic memorabilia and is currently transcribing Birdie Bowers' sledging diaries for the Institute.

Cathy Cooper

Cathy Cooper
  • Elected to Committee: January 2007
  • Retired: December 2010

Cathy has worked in television for nearly 30 years and is Head of Music at GMTV.

She travelled down to the Antarctic Peninsula in 1999 for a trip of a life time. Fortunately it didn't stop there. She has since been to many polar related events including a special dinner aboard the Discovery in Dundee and a week in Norway, exploring Antarctic related sites.

She has a keen interest in Polar art and is a former patron of the Inuit Art Foundation, forming relationships with specialists and dealers to widen her knowledge in this field. She also does stone carving in her spare (!) time and has worked in glass. Most of her work is Polar related. She has taken part in a number of FoSPRI challenges, beginning with the 2006 SPRI Dog Sledging Challenge in Arctic Norway.

Robin Philip Back

Robin Back
  • Elected to Committee: January 2006
  • Elected as Chairman: January 2007
  • Retired: December 2010

Robin is the eldest grandson of Professor Frank Debenham, OBE, geologist on Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition of 1910-13 and founder of the Scott Polar Research Institute. After studying economics at Geneva University, Robin spent 20 years overseas with Standard Chartered Bank before leaving in 1988 to establish his own software development company in Norfolk.

Robin is a freeman of the cities of both Norwich and London where he is also a Liveryman, Court Assistant and past Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Dyers, an ancient London Livery company ranking 13th in precedence in the City. Robin is actively involved in Church affairs being a lay member of the General Synod of the Church of England and Lay Chairman of the Norwich Diocesan Synod. Polar affairs have come to feature largely in Robin's life through the family connection, culminating in a hugely enjoyable visit to Antarctica in 2000 with sister Philippa (past Chair of the Friends). The 'Antarctic photo' is taken in the hut at Cape Evans while reading to camera from Deb's diaries published the previous year.

Alison Jolley

Alison Jolley
  • Elected to Committee: January 2008
  • Retired: April 2010

A journalist, photographer and keen walker in the world's wild places, Alison has always been fascinated by what motivates people to brave the most extreme conditions for exploration and travel. Her interest in the heroic age of polar exploration was sparked off by a book of Herbert Ponting's photographs of the men (and ponies, as she is also a keen horsewoman) who accompanied Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the Antarctic in 1910/13. Alison collects the memoirs of polar explorers and is keen to support the work of the archives and museum at SPRI so that others will hear their stories.

Pauline Young

Pauline Young
  • Elected to Committee: January 2005
  • Retired: December 2008

Pauline started her love affair with cold continents in 1991 when she accompanied (Sir) Cameron Mackintosh and friends on The World Discoverer - Society Expeditions ship to Antarctica. Having spent her early adult life as a wife and Mother, her working life started in 1980 with the launch of G & O Public Relations and one account working for Italy. She was asked to look after Society Expeditions in 1989 and still works for the company today, although different products. "The last 25years have been a learning curve that I can hardly believe, I have travelled to places most people only dream of and now I would like to give something back" she says. "I love the challenge of working with SPRI and hope as I get more time, to be able to devote more energy to helping further this important organisation". Pauline has also recently been in the far North, visiting Far East Russia and Wrangle Island aboard the ship Kapitan Khlebnikov with Quark Expeditions.

Paul Davies

Paul Davies
  • Elected to Committee: January 2005
  • Retired: December 2008

From his early graduate studies in History and Geography, Paul went on to a career in education, spending 11 years teaching in secondary schools in the East Midlands and a further 17 years as a Local Education Authority officer in the South West. He became the Assistant Director of Education for Plymouth LEA before entering his current role as an independent education consultant. Paul is active in several polar societies and is a collector and part time dealer of books on polar exploration. He has advised Plymouth City Council on several Antarctic centred-events and authored the tourist leaflet: Capt. Scott and Plymouth's Antarctic Connections. Paul has recently started a local group for polar enthusiasts in the Devon and Cornwall area and is researching a book on the men from South Devon who went South in the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. He has a particular interest in opening up the archive and collections at SPRI for use by schools.

Rossie Ogilvie

Rossie Ogilvie
  • Co-opted to Committee: January 2004
  • Retired: December 2007

Originally from Australia, Rossie works for the University of Cambridge Development Office where, amongst other duties, she co-ordinates the fund-raising campaign for the Scott Polar Research Institute.

David M. Wilson (Chairman)

David M. Wilson
  • Appointed as co-opted member from July 2008 to 2010 to facilitate liaison with the Institute's Anniversary plans
  • Elected to Committee: January 2000
  • Elected as Chairman: January 2003
  • Retired: December 2006

David Wilson is a great nephew of Dr Edward Wilson, who died with Captain Scott and his party on their return from the South Pole in 1912. Having an early career in the theatre, he moved on to study at the United World College of the Pacific and the Universities of York and Essex, where he trained as a philosopher. He is also a trained Counsellor. With a strong interest in Aboriginal cultures and broad natural history interests, he travels widely. Increasingly in demand as a polar historian and ornithological field guide, David spends much of his time working to promote our historic Antarctic heritage. He has collaborated on several books: Cheltenham in Antarctica: the Life of Edward Wilson (2000); Discovery Illustrated: Pictures from Captain Scott's First Antarctic Expedition (2001); and Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks, (2004). He has also published numerous papers and also produced a CD of historic Antarctic expedition songs and poems The Songs of the 'Morning': a musical sketch (2002). All these works were produced to support Antarctic heritage projects.

Solveig Gardner Servian

Solveig Gardner Servian
  • Elected to Committee: January 2003
  • Retired: December 2006

Solveig's interest in anthropology led her to Alaska in the winter of 1976 and to Greenland in summer 1979. Being English/Norwegian, she is also interested in the history of Antarctic exploration. Following a long career in publishing she now runs her own business and is publisher of the online magazine www.polarworlds.info and Quest for a Phantom Strait by David Yelverton.

Jennifer Hirsh

Jennifer Hirsh
  • Elected to Committee: January 2003
  • Retired: December 2006

Jennifer Hirsh has been working as a volunteer for the last five years, listing the whole of the SPRI museum collection on a database, so that it conforms to the current standards for the documentation of collections. This proved greatly beneficial in getting the museum registered. Prior to retirement, Jennifer worked professionally for twenty five years promoting standards in museum documentation and running seminars and courses for museum staff all over the UK and abroad. Originally a maths graduate, she was in the right place at the right time to get involved very early into computing, and again in the 1970s, being in Cambridge, to be involved in experimental projects to test the feasibility of computerisation of museum collections in a standard way. Her interest in the polar regions goes back a long way and was inspired by many things: a visit to the Canadian Arctic, seeing Edward Wilson's watercolours 40 years ago at SPRI, advising BAS archivists on documentation, visits to Svalbard and later Greenland, and eventually to the Antarctic.

Kim Crosbie

Kim Crosbie
  • Elected to Committee: January 2002
  • Retired: December 2005

Kim was born and raised in Edinburgh, where the majority of her summers were spent on the west coast paddling around in rock pools enjoying the renowned warmth of the Scottish sun and developing a deep seated interest in (cold) coastal environments. Since 1993 Kim has worked in both the Arctic and Antarctic as a freelance naturalist, guide and writer. She holds a Masters and PhD from the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. The latter involved spending three seasons at a small field camp on the Antarctic Peninsula, living with some 4,500 pairs of Gentoo penguins, whilst studying the wildlife impact of Antarctic tourism. In addition to her freelance work, Kim is the Environmental Operations Manager for the International Association for Antarctic Tour Operators and co-author (with Sally Poncet) of 'A Visitor's Guide to South Georgia' (2005).

Bob Headland

Bob Headland
  • Co-opted: October 1980. Co-opted as BAS representative
  • Appointed: October 1983. Ex-Officio, as Archivist and Curator of the Institute
  • Retired: September 2005

Bob has served on the Friends' Committee for an astonishing 25 years, first as BAS representative and then in the capacity of Archivist and Curator of the Institute. He has made an enormous contribution to the development of the Friends in these roles. Bob is an advisor to several expeditionary organisations, departments of government and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1984, he was decorated with the Polar Medal; he is a member of both the Arctic Club and Antarctic Club and is a world-renowned expert in the field of historical geography. He was recently awarded Honorary Life Membership for his exceptional service to the Friends.

Philippa Smith

  • Elected: January 2001
  • Retired: December 2004

Philippa has had associations with the Institute since 1972. Her most noted role was in founding the current Picture Library as the first Picture Library Manager.

Keith Holmes

  • Elected: January 2001
  • Retired: December 2004

Keith spent a winter at Stonington Island when a geologist with BAS in 1965/66. He moved to Shell where he worked for 20 years prior to his recent retirement. Keith is active in several polar organisations, particularly the BAS club and the South Georgia Association.

William Mills

  • Elected: 1989. Ex-Officio, as Librarian of the Institute
  • Died in service: May 2004

Nigel Back

  • Elected: January 2000
  • Retired: December 2003

Nigel served during 2003 as Deputy-Chairman of the Friends.

Philippa Foster Back (Chairman)

  • Elected to Committee: January 1992
  • Elected as Chairman: January 1996
  • Retired: December 2002

David Powell

  • Elected: January 1999
  • Retired: December 2002

John Heap

  • Elected: Ex-officio, as Director of Institute
    • As Committee Member, January 1999
  • Retired: December 2002

David Walton

David Walton
  • Co-opted: January 1998 (As BAS representative)
  • Retired: December 2003

David was the Head of Terrestrial and Freshwater Life Sciences Division at the British Antarctic Survey and then Head of Environment and Information Division. David worked closely over many years with the various SPRI Librarians to improve links with the BAS library and scientists and is a past Chair of the Polar Libraries Colloquy.

Keith Richards

  • Elected: Ex-officio, as Director of Institute
  • Retired: October 2002

Charles Swithinbank

  • Elected: January 1997
  • Retired: December 2001

Pam Davis

  • Elected: January 1998
  • Retired: December 2001

Derek Fordham

  • Elected: January 1991
  • Retired: December 2000