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Polar Bytes - No. 30, January 2004

Polar Bytes - No. 30, January 2004

A few words from the Chairman, David Wilson:

By the time you read this, I expect to be away with the penguins. Some people think that I have been there for years, of course, but there isn't much that can be said about that!

I hope that I have a slightly less adventurous time than our redoubtable archivist, Bob Headland, however. He recently returned early from the Great White South after an absolutely cracking time. On 24 November, scouting a safe route for passengers near Mirnyy, he found a deep tide-crack the hard way. It was the type covered with wind-blown snow and known, in the trade, as a 'leg-breaker'. Result: a pyramidal fracture of the top of his left tibia. After a helicopter evacuation and no doubt some medicinal brandy for the pain, a kind sea to Hobart, a long and uncomfortable flight home and a visit to Addenbrokes hospital, he has been told that the break is not as bad as first thought and he ought to be out of plaster shortly!

At the same time, however, I hope to have a slightly more adventurous time than Shirley, in the library, who had her expected visit South postponed (yet again) due to technical problems with the ship. Ahh, the vagaries of the life of a modern Antarctican!

Meanwhile, life goes on at the Institute. The Lent Term lectures look most interesting, once again, as you will see from the enclosed list, and I hope that you will manage to attend. If the Michaelmas Term is anything to go by, I have no doubt that many of you will do just that! The Annual General Meeting and Autumn Buffet were also very well attended and I hope that those of you who made it along enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. Mike Tarver's lecture on the history of the ship Terra Nova was utterly fascinating - and Philippa Foster Back was most touched to receive a facsimile copy of her ancestor Back's sketch book from the archive, as a 'thank you' for all that she has done for the Friends and for the Institute. In all, it was quite an evening.

I thank you all for your support during 2003, which certainly seems to have been a successful year for the Friends. I hope that you have remembered us in your New Year Resolutions so that we can make 2004 an even better year? If we each resolved to recruit a new member this year it would significantly increase the support that we are able to give to the Institute - and there must be dozens of other little ways in which we could each resolve to assist the Friends in the year ahead. I look forward to it!

Passing Friends

We are very sorry to note the deaths of the following Friends: Brian Harland, Evelyn Forbes, Derek Searle and Pat Little. All made generous contributions to the Friends - but the passing of Evelyn Forbes, who was the daughter of Hartley Ferrar, the geologist on Scott's Discovery Expedition, marks the passing of another of the Institute's links to memories of the figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. Our condolences are extended to their families.

A very warm welcome is extended to all of our new Friends.

In the meantime, I just have time for a final mug of mulled wine and a mince pie. As I raise my steaming mug, on behalf of the Friends Committee, may I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year.

A few words from the Secretary, Ann Bean:

For those of you paying Gift Aided subscriptions by Bankers Order through the Cambridge Foundation, I suspect the Foundation have been totally overwhelmed by the volume of transactions they have to process for the University and I feel there maybe a few teething problems ahead!

For example, I know that some of you are concerned that you have not received acknowledgement of your payment, but under the new system I am only notified of payments quarterly. So, unfortunately, there will be a delay between payment and acknowledgement.

Institute Tie - the shop still has insufficient orders to proceed with the tie and will shortly need to reconsider the matter unless a few more orders materialise. Please contact Francesca Franco in the shop if you are interested.

With very best wishes to you all for 2004.

Lent Term Lecture List

Please see the online list at