Horningsham Village former resident Henry Worsley, was due to give an illustrated lecture on his extraordinary solo expedition, “An unfinished journey”  travelling 1100 miles on foot  to the South Pole – entirely unaided and unsupported, re-living Shackleton’s dream.

Henry undertook his solo expedition in the spirit of his idol Sir Ernest Shackleton and was delighted to have exceeded his goal of raising £100,000 for the Endeavour Fund,  a charity founded to help the recovery of injured servicemen and women.

Unbeknownst to those at home in January 1916, Shackleton and his men were snowbound in Patience Camp drifting north ahead of a persistent blizzard to cross the Antarctic Circle on 21 January.

At home a century later, Henry Worsley’s audacious and brave Shackleton Solo Expedition to emulate Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition by crossing the Southern Continent alone and unaided, was drawing to an unexpectedly precipitate and sad close. His words explain all: ‘The 71 days alone on the Antarctic with over 900 statute miles covered and a gradual grinding down of my physical endurance finally took their toll today, and it is with sadness that I report it is journey’s end – so close to my goal’. Exhausted and dehydrated, he died in Punta Arenas on 24 January 2016 of bacterial peritonitis.

That Henry was and is held in high esteem is reflected in public statements, media coverage and a plethora of supporting messages from his family, friends and colleagues.

This remarkable man not only raised funds for the Endeavour Fund,  but he was also contributing to fundraising for a local playground in the village of Horningsham, by giving his illustrated lecture titled IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF POLAR GIANTS bringing his sledge, skis, equipment and Shackleton memorabilia that he so avidly collected to show. Words rarely effectively describe this sort of loss and sadness, suffice to say that he will long be remembered by the village and friends of Horningsham and by the return gesture of naming the play area, SHACKLETON SOLO ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND.

As a local resident with an interest in polar exploration, Mark Mortimer was looking forward to attending the talk with friend and fellow head Julian Thomas. On hearing that Henry Worsley’s talk was raising money to support the village of Horningsham, they offered to take Henry’s place. Parent at Warminster School and organiser of the Horningsham Children’s Appeal, Ros Algar, said, “We are so grateful to Headmaster, Mark Mortimer and Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington College and thank them for gallantly standing in and giving this thrilling lecture which we are sure all attending will very much enjoy.  As a former Horninghsam Village resident and friend, Henry had kindly agreed to give up his time to help us in fundraising for the Children’s Play Area and was due to give his talk at the Village Hall in April.  We are delighted that we can go ahead and continue fundraising for the adventure playground in Henry’s name.”

Mark Mortimer and Julian Thomas, wanted to pay their own tribute, “Like so many others, we were very much looking forward to hearing Henry Worsley talk about his awe-inspiring attempt to walk alone across Antarctica. Sadly it is not to be, but we were honoured to be asked to take his place, albeit with far less impressive tales to tell. However, in a small way, it is our opportunity to pay tribute to a brave and remarkable man.  All those who knew Henry speak of his zest for life and his unquenchable desire to achieve the unachievable.  His courage and determination made him a role-model for those who aspire to go beyond life’s normal limits; in Lawrence of Arabia’s famous words, he was one of those men who ‘act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible’.   He gave others the courage to believe that they too can achieve great things.  He may no longer be with us but his legacy of inspiration will remain for many years.”

From the Atlantic to Antarctica: headmasters on tour

Mark Mortimer, the Headmaster of Warminster School, rowed across the Atlantic in 1997 with a fellow army officer in the inaugural trans-Atlantic rowing race. It took them 75 days and they rowed into Barbados on Christmas morning. It was an eventful crossing; the water-maker broke down on Day 2 and never worked again, they ran out of food and had to stop a container ship for resupply and for a week a tropical storm pushed them backwards. In addition, unlike today’s ocean rowers, they had no means of communication with the outside world.

Convinced that the demands of the crossing had been more mental than physical and intrigued by the prospect of rowing alone, Mark entered the very first solo race in 2004. After 35 days at sea, he capsized at night in mountainous seas. It was a good test of character.

Julian Thomas, the Master of Wellington College, interviewed Mark for a job in 2006 and heard then about his rowing exploits. The discussion rekindled his childhood dream to follow in the footsteps of Captain Scott.  Last year, 38 years after first planning the expedition as a 9 year old (!), he achieved his goal, trekking from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.  In his talk, Julian considers the physical and mental challenges of spending time in this most beautiful but brutal continent.

The lecture, From the Atlantic to Antarctica, will take place on 9th April at Horningsham Village Hall, near Warminster, starting at 6pm. There will also be an auction during the evening with fabulous prizes. Donations of prizes/food/wine would be most gratefully received. For further details and tickets: contact Ros Algar [email protected]  Tickets cost £20 and can be purchased from [email protected] 01985 844082, payable to – Horningsham Village Hall. The Old Vicarage Church Street, Horningsham, Warminster, Wilts BA12 7LW.


Two tickets to BATH Rugby V Leicester 07/05/16 k/o 15.30 with full hospitality and lunch from 1pm in The Pavilion (Bath), donated and hosted by Mark Mortimer.

Signed copies of the wonderful Nick Harkaway's novels, Angel Maker and Tiger Man.

A November day for 8/10 guns, 100 birds with refreshments and lunch at the Horningsham Shoot with Sean Jefferies.

A portrait of your pet by Sandrine Maubeche.

A Photo Shoot by Forward in Reverse, donated by Mel Jones.

Bed and Breakfast at the Holcombe Inn donated by Julie Berry.

Dinner for two at the Bath Arms Horningsham.

Chef Kim Mattia to cook dinner for four with wine.

A Balloon Ride from Horningsham donated by Caroline Dykes.

A whole Serrano Ham donated by Andrew Russell.

The Deer Stalking donated by Alan Forestier-Walker (only Poaches at night) in Feb/March 2017.

Two day passes with treatments to Grace Belgravia for the ladies, donated by Chris O’Donoghue.