South 2015 Reunion in Cambridge
Five months since bidding farewell to each other on the dock at Ushuaia after our three week expedition to dedicate the Southern part of the Antarctic monument, 45 of the South 2015 voyagers meet again at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge, home of the Northern part of the monument.
Our day of reunion becomes a day of revelation too, starting with Peter Clarkson’s entertaining lecture on SPRI's beginnings and its continuous programme of world leading research on the polar regions. Trust Chairman Rod Rhys Jones recounts the twelve year saga of making three monuments: one at the bottom of the world, one in a national institution and one in the nation’s church – St Paul’s Cathedral.
The bell of the Terra Nova is rung to alert us to the next part of the programme - a personal tour of the Polar Museum by curator Bryan Lintott. Then on to a tour of the magnificent Polar Archive library with the spar of Shackleton's Endurance hanging over the doorway.
Long time Trust supporter John Shears, previously with British Antarctic Survey (BAS) joins us for the day, meeting up with old friends amongst the Fid contingent.
After a sandwich lunch, the lights are dimmed in the lecture theatre and we are treated to the first cut of the film of South 2015: an Antarctic voyage to remember. Film maker Graham Morris tells us that the hour long film has been put together from 55 hours of footage recorded on the voyage and in the UK. The film is greeted with enthusiastic applause, followed by helpful suggestions on filling some gaps. BAS archivist Jo Rae, as ever, brings invaluable contributions and insights.
Then comes the judging of the photographic competition, judges Rod and Brian Dorsett-Bailey presenting shortlisted pictures in each of the six categories for voyagers to vote. More on this later.
Then it is time to board the coach back to Wolfson College, for drinks in the home of Sir Vivien Fuchs before a gala dinner in the Common Room. Peter Clarkson proposes the silent toast to “those lost in the pursuit of science to benefit us all.”
Brian reads emailed good wishes from voyagers unable to attend – Peter and Pat Cunningham in Lake Tahoe, Ivor and Barbel Morgan in Massachusetts, Cathy and Steve Lyders in Arizona. We adjourn to the bar, in high spirits and warm companionship. A grand reunion.
Sandi Rhys Jones OBE