Page last updated at 05:17 GMT, Thursday, 25 December 2008

British explorers copy Shackleton

From left Will Gow, Henry Worsley and Henry Adams
The explorers will celebrate Christmas the same way that Shackleton did

Three British descendants of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team will celebrate Christmas Day in the same manner as the explorers did 100 year ago.

Henry Worsley, 47, Henry Adams, 33, and Will Gow, 35, are in the Antarctic, attempting to complete Shackleton's failed expedition to the South Pole.

The trio will have cigars and a spoonful of creme de menthe, as their ancestors did.

The men are 43 days into their 80-day Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition.

They are currently 300 nautical miles from the South Pole, having completed a 1,500ft climb to the top of the Shackleton Ice Falls.

Shackleton set out on his Nimrod expedition in October 1908, hoping to become the first person to reach the South Pole.

But he was forced to turn back 97 miles from his goal on 9 January, 1909.

Mr Worsley, from Hereford, is the expedition leader and a descendant of Shackleton's skipper Frank Worsley.

The army officer said: "Being away is definitely worth it. We are on track to complete the expedition safely and honour the achievements of Ernest Shackleton."

Foundation launch

Mr Gow, a City worker from Ashford, Kent, is related to Shackleton by marriage.

Mr Adams, a shipping lawyer from Snape, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, is a great-grandson of Jameson Boyd-Adams, Shackleton's number two on the unsuccessful expedition.

Another three team members will meet them on 9 January next year, at the same distance where Shackleton abandoned his attempt, for a final push towards the South Pole.

The expedition is also being used to launch a 10m Shackleton Foundation, which will fund projects that capture the "explorer's spirit" and hunger for "calculated risk".

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