The SGA Initiative Fund

SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque

Shackleton Memorial Stone Dedication, Westminster Abbey, 15th February 2024

by SGA Chair David Drewry

On a surprisingly warm February afternoon the Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband, Admiral Timothy Lawrence, attend the ceremony to unveil the memorial stone in the South Cloister of Westminster Abbey to commemorate the life and deeds of Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO OBE.

The idea to have a plaque installed and for Shackleton to be thus recognised amongst the panoply of Britain’s famous explorers – James Cook, Francis Drake, Francis Chichester and Astronomer Edmond Halley, was the brainchild of Tim Winter RN and supported principally by the James Caird Society. Alexandra Shackleton was intimately involved in this initiative throughout the several years it required to obtain the necessary agreement of the Abbey and permissions.

At an early stage the SGA was invited to give its support and responded readily and positively with a donation £1500 towards the production of the Memorial Stone. This was crafted by Mr Will Davies who incorporated Connemara marble and Kilkenny limestone to reflect Shackleton’s Irish heritage (he was born in Kilkea, Co Kildare, on February 15, 1874). The stone is also inscribed with the names of Shackleton’s expedition ships and his family motto, “fortitudine vincimus” – by endurance we conquer.

The Dedication Ceremony commenced at 5pm in the Abbey with attendance by the Lord Mayor of London and HRH The Princess Royal and her husband. A number of invited guests, representing the family and a wide range of Shackleton interests, were present some having travelled from Ireland and parts of mainland Europe. David Tatham and David Drewry attend on behalf of SGA and Bob Headland was also there is a different capacity. Following the immaculately conducted Evensong, with singing by the choir of extraordinary purity that filled the massive Abbey with otherworldly sound, invited guests made their way to the South Cloister. Here the group gathered around the plaque covered by the Abbey flag. There were several short readings and tributes to Shackleton led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle KCVO, including one read by the Hon. Alexandra ‘Zaz’ Shackleton. Thereafter the Princess Royal stepped forward to unveil the memorial plaque.

After a suitable time admiring this new addition to the Abbey, the guests made their way to the Jerusalem Chamber where at a Reception the HRH was introduced and spoke with them. Zaz Shackleton concluded this element of the Abbey ceremonies with a few words.

Later that evening there was a further and convivial gathering of the guests from the Abbey joined by other supporters, at the Royal Overseas League. It concluded what had been a most memorable and uplifting “polar” occasion.

Click a photo to see a larger version.

Memorial Plaque (courtesy Dean and Chapter of Westminster)
In the Choir prior to Evensong
The hon. Alexandra Shackleton reading prior to the unveiling.
Gathering in the Cloister, Princess Royal (left in light green dress).

SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque Read More »

SGA Initiative Fund Award to Shackleton Stage Project

This year the Association has awarded a grant to James Burke and colleagues for a project entitled ‘Beyond South Georgia’ the aims of which are the production of marketing materials to promote the story of Shackleton’s incredible journey from Antarctica to South Georgia and the subsequent rescue of his expedition from Elephant Island. The ultimate aim is to bring this story, and the people and the environments in it, to the stage.

The project will involve a series of workshops to experiment with applying sound and movement to a text in order to generate the artistic ideas to captivate audiences from the stage. Using a videographer to film the workshops, a stage designer to create concept art and a graphic designer to knit it into a cohesive marketing image for moving towards a full stage production. The South Georgia Association is very proud to support such an unusual and worthwhile project.

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Frank Hurley's CLassic Grytviken Panorame

RGS Shackleton’s Legacy Exhibition is Open

The Royal Geographic Society in London are currently holding an exhibition – Shackleton’s legacy and the power of early Antarctic photography – that is now open until 4 May. It is free.

The South Georgia Association supported the creation of this exhibition, so do go along and see how it looks.

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SGA Initiative Fund Award to RSPB for Educational Work in Japan

A grant has been awarded to assist this project by the use of social media to raise awareness of the impact of fisheries bycatch on South Georgian albatrosses. It aims to conduct public outreach in Japan and put pressure on government, tuna and other fisheries stakeholders to take action to reduce albatross bycatch.

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Dictionary of Falkland (and South Georgia) Biography Update

David Tatham – researcher, erstwhile Commissioner for SGSSI, and chair of the SGA – informs us that the online version of his Dictionary of Falkland Island Biography continues to expand and has recently been augmented by its 1,500th photograph.

In 2010 the South Georgia Association helped to place copies of the original printed version in a number libraries and museums.

The following press release has more details, and below that you will find a link to the DFB website.

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Madeleine Brasier, Homeward Bound

The South Georgia Association announces the award of an Initiative Fund grant to Miss Madeleine Brasier to enable her to participate in an all-female leadership training expedition to the Antarctic as part of Homeward Bound. A PhD student studying Antarctic benthic biology at Liverpool University and the Natural History Museum, Madeleine was selected for the one-year Homeward Bound training programme earlier this year. She will be part of a team of 80 women from around the world and is one of only three PhD students from the UK. The programme aims to raise awareness about environmental change, and the gender gap in science, against the backdrop of Antarctica whilst providing the female participants with skills to lead in research and influence environmental policy. The one-year training programme Madeleine is undertaking will be completed with a 3-week Antarctic expedition on which her leadership and innovation skills will be tested in extreme conditions.

Madeleine’s current research investigates the ecology and diversity of benthic marine animals within the Western Antarctic, including South Georgia. She is also interested in the fisheries monitoring around South Georgia. The link between her research and marine policy is an area she will strengthen with the aid of the Homeward Bound experience.

The aims of the South Georgia Association are to encourage interest in, and concern for, the island of South Georgia. Applications for Initiative Fund grants are welcomed from all who have an interest in South Georgia and who wish to initiate or support projects that will stimulate awareness of, and interest in, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Further information on the Initiative Fund can be found HERE. Coupled with her outreach work as a STEM ambassador (inspiring young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and an education officer for the UK Polar Network, Madeleine will benefit from the training and experience gained in Antarctic matters supported by the South Georgia Association.

Madeleine Brasier, Homeward Bound Read More »

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