Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 11:28 UK

Pole trek needs last explorer

From left Will Gow, Henry Worsley and Henry Adams
The adventurers need a seventh trekker to complete the team

Descendants of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team are looking for a final budding explorer to complete their ancestors' journey to the South Pole.

Legend has it Sir Ernest recruited his expedition members with an advert promising "small wages", "constant danger" and a "doubtful safe return".

A century later, the new team wants someone with a "relentless passion to succeed" and a supply of "good jokes".

They will also have to be fit and their cup must always be "half-full".

Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, best known for leading the Endurance expedition of 1914-16, never made it to the South Pole.

But he came close to being the first on his 1908-1909 Nimrod mission.

Aiming to finish the job, the 21st century expedition is being led by Army Lt Col Henry Worsley, a relation of Frank Worsley, the skipper on Shackleton 's ship the Endurance.

Their 80-day trek leaves in October - exactly 100 years after the Nimrod expedition.

They will follow the same 900-mile route as their predecessors, and will face temperatures of -35C and headwinds of 50mph (80km/h).

'Lifetime opportunity'

Candidates applying for the final and seventh place on the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition do not need a family connection or previous Polar experience.

Lt Col Worsley, 47, from Hereford, said: "The type of person we will be looking for is someone whose cup is always half-full, never half-empty.

"Someone who can laugh at themselves, a strong team player who sees this as a lifetime opportunity and can tell a good joke to keep spirits up.

"Above all else we want a candidate with a relentless passion to succeed whatever the adversity."

The other members of the expedition are:

  • Henry Adams, 33, shipping lawyer, from Snape, Suffolk, great-grandson of Jameson Boyd-Adams, Shackleton's number two on the Nimrod expedition
  • Will Gow, 35, city worker, from Ashford, Kent, is related to Shackleton by marriage
  • Patrick Bergel, 36, from London, Shackleton's great-grandson, who works in advertising
  • Tim Fright, 24, from Billingshurst, West Sussex, great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions. He works as a PA to Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria
  • David Cornell, 38, from Andover, Hampshire, a City fund manager and another great-grandson of Boyd-Adams

Lt Col Worsley, Mr Gow and Mr Adams will set out from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on 29 October, as Shackleton and his team did a century earlier.

They will meet the other four team members 97 miles from the Pole, the point at which the original explorers had to turn back due to dwindling rations and icy blizzards.

Sir Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton wanted to become the first person to reach the South Pole

The final expedition member, who will take part in the second leg of the trek, will be chosen through a gruelling selection process culminating in endurance training in North Wales.

He or she will then be put through their paces with a crossing of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Even though Shackleton failed in his bid to become the first person to reach the South Pole, he travelled further south than anyone else before and was knighted on his return home.

The new expedition is being used to launch a 10 million Shackleton Foundation, which will fund projects that embody the adventurer's spirit and hunger for "calculated risk".

The exploits of the expedition will be covered on a special edition of Timewatch on BBC Two early next year.

Descendants train for Pole trek
27 Apr 08 |  England
Historic penguin sketches found
21 Dec 07 |  Science/Nature
Shackleton hut to be resurrected
18 Jan 05 |  Science/Nature


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