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Polar Bytes - No. 3, September 1996

Polar Bytes - No. 3, September 1996

A word from our chairman Philippa Foster Back

The Friends' luncheon was a tremendous success. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet many old and new Friends, and to personally thank all of you for your support this year. The ideas many of you brought forward during the lunch, and after lunch discussion have been useful, and with the help of volunteers, we hope to put some of them forward. Please keep the ideas rolling in.

So far, Friends have raised £11,000 towards the £25,000 needed to donate the window in the new building. More fund-raising events are planned for the future, so your participation in getting the word round will be most appreciated.

Finally, since September of 1995, we have added 88 new members to Friends. The 'find a Friend' campaign is obviously working. Many thanks for your support.

Renew your Passports! Bring your children/grandchildren

On 28 September 1996, SPRI will host another Passport to Polar Adventure. This is a family event-particularly those from 4-16 years old (chronologically or spiritually). Many of the same stations will be open - Crevasse rescue, Vostok (the cold rooms), Polar clothing, but we are adding Dogs and Dog-sledding and are open to suggestions involving other aspects of polar life. Volunteers would be most welcome to talk about polar clothing, act as passport agents, etc. ! No special skills required except that you enjoy chatting with children. The day begins at 10:30 am and ends at 4:00. All volunteers will be entitled to a free lunch. Please contact Pam Davis (01223 336547) if you would like to assist.

Fund-raising News

SPRI has hit the £500,000 mark in its efforts to raise money for the new Shackleton Memorial Library, and donations from Friends totals £11,000! The HCD Memorial Fund (A Debenham trust) generously gave £5,000 after one of their trustees saw an article about our efforts in the Cambridge Alumni Magazine. Since J. Debenham joined just after informing us of their donation, I think it is fair to count it towards the `Friends' donation. This brings Friends nearly half-way towards our goal of £25,000.

We still need to raise additional funds, so any thoughts and help towards meeting that goal are deeply appreciated.

Upcoming David Smith Exhibition -

David Smith, twice the official artist to the British Antarctic Survey, will be exhibiting his Antarctic work at SPRI. Following his retrospective at Bankside Gallery, Smith's outstanding Antarctic paintings, prints, and drawings will be on exhibit and sale in the museum. He has generously agreed to divide a portion of the sale proceeds among the Shackleton Memorial Library, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, and the Fuchs Foundation. This is a great opportunity, not only to see Smith's Antarctic work, but to buy some and support SPRI's new library.

A date is not yet fixed but is likely to be in November. More information to follow.

Dogsledding Event?

Acknowledging the interest in dogs and sledding, some investigative work is being done on the question of having a dogsledding (fund-raising) event. Initial discussions with the Eskimo Dog Club indicate a willingness of their part to participate if a proper venue, date (a Sunday in April?), and scheme can be devised. Enthusiastic Friends who wish to become involved in the `feasibility study' are encouraged to contact Pam Davis (01223 336547).

News from our members

Long Ago but no so far away:

Derek Fordham

Over the years the SPRI will have meant many things to many people but to me, approaching it for the first time on a sunny spring day in 1968, it meant the answer to all of my questions about a proposed first expedition to East Greenland.

My earlier, unstructured questioning letter had been passed to Peter Friend whose programme of field work in NE Greenland at that time had no doubt qualified him to be the recipient.

I was made welcome with a warmth and friendship which I still remember. Sitting in Peter's office under the roof of the old building, the sun streaming in and dappling walls covered with fascinating maps and air photographs I felt I had arrived at the very heart of Arctic activity. On reflection that visit may well have been one of the most formative experiences of my life as since 19681 have lead over 20 similar expeditions to various parts of the Arctic. In recent years, I have not needed quite so much help from SPRI but I will never forget the warm friendly welcome and exchange of enthusiasm I encountered in that sunny roof room all those years ago.

Want to Travel to South Georgia?

Michael Gilkes (Brighton 593233) has informed us that there are a few vacancies aboard the Explorer for its South Georgia trip. Anyone wishing more information should contact him.

Special Offer to Friends

The publishers of Francis Spufford's new book, I May Be Some Time, have made a special offer for Friends. Anyone interested in buying this book from them directly can save £3.00 (and free delivery) from the retail price of £15.99.

Spufford's book has received good reviews and deals with the cultural history of our obsession with ice and polar exploration. A terribly interesting and thought provoking book.

If you are interested drop Pam Davis a line and she will send you the proper form.

SPRI's World Wide Website

SPRI's very own website went public on 1 September. Now anyone on the Internet, interested in polar matters, will be able to find out who we are and what we do. In addition to the academic side, we have also provided a 'Friends' page so that any interested people can contact us and join! Should you have access to a website, then look for us on

Renew your membership

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