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‘Henry Worsley’ – A Fitting Antarctic Legacy

‘Henry Worsley’ – A Fitting Antarctic Legacytest

‘Henry Worsley’ – A Fitting Antarctic Legacy

The Skarbek team are strongly behind naming the new NERC polar research vessel after Henry Worsley.
Two of the team Rebecca and Ed explain why:

Ed Butler, former Commanding Officer of the SAS Regiment and a personal friend of Henry’s writes:-

“Henry Worsley was a good friend of mine and a unique man. He epitomised everything that an SAS man should be: adventurous, brave, determined and very much his own man. He was passionate about the Antarctic, Shackleton and the history of polar expeditions. He died on his third expedition, achingly close to completing the first unsupported, solo 1000 mile crossing of the Antarctic. He has inspired so many people, young and old, by his achievements”.

Rebecca Stephens adds:-

“The name ‘Henry Worsley’ is so fitting, conjuring up as it does both the memories of one of the key players and the spirit of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, right now in the 21st century. Those familiar with the epic tale of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914/17 will also be familiar with the captain of Shackleton’s ship Endurance, New Zealander Frank Worsley, a distant relative of Henry’s. Frank Worsley was the navigator who, with the instinct of a homing pigeon, successfully steered their tiny boat the James Caird across 800 miles of Southern Seas to the island of South Georgia, and safety – still considered the most audacious boat journey of all time.

Perhaps it was in Henry Worsley’s genes to be a polar traveller of such first class credentials? Or more likely it was the inspiration of his ancestor and his ancestor’s ‘boss’, Sir Ernest Shackleton, who he openly revered. Henry Worsley is not alone in regarding Shackleton as one of the most exceptional leaders of the 20th century. OK, he failed to reach the South Pole as was his original objective, and he failed to cross the Antarctic continent as was his intent on his 1914/17 expedition. But he succeeded in something far greater: the survival and safe return of every one of his 27-strong team, while overcoming almost unimaginable odds.

I met Henry only a handful of times. He was a friend of a friend, and together we were both ambassadors of The Shackleton Foundation that offers grants to social entrepreneurs who seek to help those most in need in our society. In these meetings with Henry – once listening to him talk on a trip to the South Pole, and on another occasion when he dropped by our houseboat to deliver a copy of his book – it was obvious that he embodied the spirit of the Antarctic explorer together with the courage and determination to go the extra mile so typical of the Special Forces.

My heart breaks when I think of his beautiful and free-spirited widow left behind – more so even for his children – but for those of us who were privileged to meet him, and for the wider community who know of his story, and yes, maybe even those who feel his loss most acutely, his spirit is an inspiration for us all to listen to our inner voice and pursue our passion with gusto and tenacity to endure. Let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of pounds that he raised for the Endeavour Fund which supports service men and women rediscover their self belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges. I am reminded of the concluding words in Maria Coffey’s book Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow, about her grief at the loss of her lover Joe Tasker who lived life like a rock star, and died on Everest’s North East Ridge in 1982. ‘Joe’s death,’ she said, ‘jolted me alive.’”

Please join us is in the worthy cause of seeking to have the new NERC polar research vessel named RSS Henry Worsley.




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