Last week, the RSGS was delighted to host a very special Inspiring People talk in Perth that recognised some of the Society’s most committed volunteers. At the event, Freda Ross, John Lewington and Jo Woolf were awarded prestigious Honorary Fellowships as a token of the Society’s immense gratitude for their years of dedication and voluntary endeavour. This presentation was followed by a fascinating talk given by Jo in her capacity as Writer-in-Residence which covered a raft of breath-taking stories from her recent publication, The Great Horizon.

Since the RSGS moved to Perth in 2008, Freda and John have been unwavering in their support of the RSGS, regularly hosting trips to the Fair Maid’s House visitor centre, producing quizzes and brochures for both schoolchildren and the general public, and giving a range of rousing talks to external organisations. Moreover, without fail, both have always been quick and enthusiastic to respond to the Society’s calls for extra assistance, often at the very last minute.

Likewise, Jo has gone way beyond anything that the Society could have reasonably asked for since her appointment as Writer-in-Residence in 2014. Working almost full-time, she has skilfully captured, crafted and communicated the many stories hidden in our archive, most notably by publishing her recent book, The Great Horizon. This features 50 vignettes from some of the most notable explorers of the last 150 years whilst also detailing some of the many feats achieved by lesser-known adventurers, travellers and scientists, all of whom have a connection to the Society. Her engaging style has done wonders for the promotion and profileof the Society’s history which will help ensure the long-term preservationof these remarkable stories, something that the RSGS hopes will inspire the next generation.

Commenting on the evening, Chief Executive Mike Robinson said: “Volunteering is the lifeblood of the Society, and we are incredibly grateful to all who give up their time for us. It was my great pleasure to present Freda, John and Jo with Honorary Fellowships for their years of dedication and immense enthusiasm. They are a credit to the Society, and we look forward to continue working with our newly appointed Honorary Fellows.”

Jo Woolf, RSGS Writer-in-Residence said: “It was a great privilege to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the RSGS, particularly as so many of the explorers I have been researching had the same honour bestowed. It was a fabulous evening, and I can’t wait to embark on my next adventure with the Society.”

Much of the work that is carried out by the RSGS is voluntary: the Society’s local groups are run by volunteers, as are the RSGS committees and Board.  It is volunteers who host trips to the RSGS visitor centre, and volunteers who help clean, catalogue and conserve its collections. The Society has volunteers who help in the office and volunteers who give talks to external groups. Residencies with the Society, as both explorers and writers, are also voluntary positions. In short, there is a voluntary position for everyone – so if you, or anyone you might know, is interested in volunteering then please get in touch.

The Society can be reached via enquiries@rsgs.orgor 01738 455050.

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