Sunday, 13 January 2008

In Shackleton's footsteps. (well - sort of)

Each week to friends and supporters, I send by e mail a quotation of the week. (If you wish to join the mailing list to receive this weekly snippet of knowledge - just drop us an e mail.) Last week there were two quotations one about Antarctica and one by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

In my opinion Shackleton is a true British hero and one of the finest explorers ever. but what really stood out was his leadership and management style. When I was younger it was Captain Scott who was seen as a true example of a great British hero but in recent times he has been overtaken by Shackleton- It may have something to do with how our views on what makes a hero has changed. Both failed to reach their destinations but where we saw Scott as a hero because of the sacrifice he and his team made it is now Shackleton we look up to because though he failed to reach the pole he did bring all his team home safely (only for many of them to perish in the First World War). On the BBC recently there has been a debate about who is more of a hero? Shackleton or Scott. This debate was aslo highlighted on Friday with the death of another great leader/explorer in Sir Edmund Hilary.

This week my fascination in Shackleton caused me to get some extra deliveries! Currently in Ipswich we are delivering Chris Mole MP calenders across the constituency and this week we have been working in St Johns and Rushmere but last week we were in the South east of the town and as we finished, my quote of the week was mentioned and I then ended up being given an extra delivery round- where? - Shackleton Road and Shackleton Square on the Racecourse estate- and they even threw in Drake and a couple of other roads named after explorers. I will now be checking that the weekly quotation does not come from someone with a road named after them within Ipswich!

So though I may only have ended up walking along a road named after Shackleton and not in his footsteps a former colleague of mine from the Royal Green Jackets will soon get the chance to not only follow in the great mans steps but to actually reach the South Pole, a team leaves at the end of 2008 to retrace Shackleton's steps as part of a centenary expedition. More fascinating is that the key members of the team are all related to members of the original expedition. To find out more about this fantastic trip, visit the expedition website here.

For anyone who wants to find out more about Shackleton- I would suggest the best place to sart is to read his own book about that 1908 expedition- 'South' - it is one of the most inspiring books that I have ever read.

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