In October, an audience of almost 200 gathered in Victoria College’s Great Hall for a Durrell fundraising event to hear the fascinating stories of two intrepid 20th century Antarctic explorers.

Sponsored by Standard Bank as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the speaker for the evening was Rob Caskie who delivered his talk ‘Going South with Scott and Shackleton’. Drawing on his passion for the subject of human endeavour, he highlighted the struggles of Robert F Scott’s polar party (1911-1912) and their subsequent deaths. The mood was then lifted significantly with the extraordinary tale of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition (1914-1916) and the escape from the ice of all 28 men, after 21 months trapped on the Weddell Sea.

Claire Reid, Head of Marketing and Communications at Standard Bank, said: “Following the success of Rob’s Zulu Wars talk in Jersey last year, we were pleased to invite him back to deliver his new talk which was very well received by the guests. The tales of these expeditions to the Antarctic are true epics of human struggle and Rob delivered them in his enthusiastic manner which kept the audience captivated. We are delighted to have raised over £3,000 for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust through this successful event.”

As well as Rob’s storytelling, guests were also treated to an up close look at some of the items salvaged from both Scott and Shackleton’s explorations which are in the possession of local collector David Gainsborough Roberts. These included dining items used on the ships they sailed to the Antarctic on and items of clothing which seemed very inadequate compared to the modern day fabrics we are more familiar with.

Lee Durrell, Honorary Director of Durrell, said: “Rob’s Scott and Shackleton talk was both inspiring and entertaining and we are very grateful to Standard Bank for involving us in this unique event and for the funds raised through it. Durrell has developed a worldwide reputation for its pioneering conservation techniques and it is this same spirit which was demonstrated by last century’s explorers.”

Rob Caskie is an international storyteller and was previously the principal lecturer at Fugitives’ Drift Lodge in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.