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henry worsley

Henry Worsley

 

I feel very sad today. My friend Henry Worsley has died, shortly after being evacuated from an expedition in Antarctica.

Henry was a friend, an inspiration and, at times, an inadvertent mentor. I wanted to be like Henry when I grew up. Amongst other things, Henry had achieved two objectives which I always dreamed of but never attained. During the five years I spent trying to get a South Pole expedition off the ground, Henry was always a calm voice of encouragement. When I had to withdraw from the project and my dream receded, Henry was sympathetic, understanding and helpful.

Henry was a generous supporter of the Night of Adventure events I run (see his talk below). He was due to be speaking at our next event in March. I will miss him. He was the sort of man, with colossal stature and achievements, who was humble enough to be happy to help with charity events like these. Nonetheless, whenever he agreed to give a talk for me, I always found myself thinking, “WOW! Henry Worsley has agreed to help me!” I should not have been surprised, but I was always pleased.

I didn’t know Henry well enough to write fully about him. Nor do I have the Antarctic pedigree to comment properly on his expeditions. So I will leave the last words to my friend Ben Saunders, who wrote these eloquent words yesterday.

Here's Henry Worsley – @shackletonsolo – as I'll always remember him: stoic, humble, kind-hearted, my friend, and someone I looked up to more than I ever had the chance to let him know. – He showed me this cushion a few years ago and his eyes lit up as he told me the story. It had been given to him by an inmate at Wandsworth Prison, where Henry volunteered to teach needlework. He was a serving officer in the Special Air Service at the time, and told me that learning to sew had helped calm his nerves when he first spent time in a war zone, and that he loved teaching it now, decades after his first deployment. – Henry was a hard man of the rarest kind. There's a superficial toughness a lot of men like to portray – all strut and swagger and aggression; men holding ugly masks up to conceal their fear. And then there's the serene equanimity that radiated from Henry: a steadfast, resolute solidity that came not from fear but from love, from a positive human spirt, and from a heart that shone. – Henry usually signed off his messages with a single word. – Onward.

A photo posted by Ben Saunders (@polarben) on

Here’s Henry Worsley as I’ll always remember him: stoic, humble, kind-hearted, my friend, and someone I looked up to more than I ever had the chance to let him know. – He showed me this cushion a few years ago and his eyes lit up as he told me the story. It had been given to him by an inmate at Wandsworth Prison, where Henry volunteered to teach needlework. He was a serving officer in the Special Air Service at the time, and told me that learning to sew had helped calm his nerves when he first spent time in a war zone, and that he loved teaching it now, decades after his first deployment. – Henry was a hard man of the rarest kind. There’s a superficial toughness a lot of men like to portray – all strut and swagger and aggression; men holding ugly masks up to conceal their fear. And then there’s the serene equanimity that radiated from Henry: a steadfast, resolute solidity that came not from fear but from love, from a positive human spirt, and from a heart that shone. – Henry usually signed off his messages with a single word. – Onward.

“I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life’s set prize.”
Always a little further, Henry

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Comments

  1. We shall go always a little further. May his legacy inspire the next generation of pilgrims, explorers and gentlemen.

    Reply
  2. Fitting tribute. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Christian C Posted

    Nicely put Al. A great man and a great loss indeed.

    Reply

 
 

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