Steyning man takes on key role caring for the Antarctic

Former British Ambassador Donald Lamont has become the new chairman of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust

Former British Ambassador Donald Lamont has become the new chairman of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust

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STEYNING man Donald Lamont has taken over a key role conserving Antarctic buildings and artefacts.

Mr Lamond, a former British ambassador, took over as chairman of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust on Monday.

He replaces Philippa Foster Back, who retires from the position having served as trustee since 2000 and chair for the past seven years.

Mr Lamont, who lives in Steyning with his wife Lynda and two children, Louise and Ian, has extensive knowledge of British Antarctic affairs, having served as governor of the Falkland Islands and commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands from 1999-2002.

A trustee of the trust since 2008, he said: “I am honoured to follow Philippa as chairman of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

“Following in the footsteps of her distinguished predecessors, Philippa has guided the trust through a period of exciting growth and diversification in its activities.

“I feel privileged to serve as chairman of a Trust that enjoys such a strong reputation within the Antarctic community in the UK and overseas.”

The trust exists to conserve Antarctic buildings and artefacts and promote and encourage interest in Antarctic heritage.

It operates the most-visited tourist destination on the continent at Port Lockroy, a historic British base and ‘living museum’ that receives more than 15,000 visitors every year.

Rachel Morgan, director of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Donald as chairman and look forward to his leadership over the coming years, in particular as we prepare for the centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s heroic expedition of 1914-17 – an important milestone in British Antarctic history.

“Donald has a strong understanding of the Antarctic community and its needs and brings with him a wealth of international experience which will benefit the trust as we seek to expand our outreach activity abroad.”

Born in Aberdeen, Mr Lamont attended Aberdeen Grammar School and in 1970, graduated MA (Hons Russian Studies) from Aberdeen University.

After four years in the motor industry, he was appointed to HM Diplomatic Service in 1974, serving in Vienna, Moscow, Berlin (through the fall of the Wall) and Sarajevo.

He served as Ambassador to Uruguay from 1991 to 1994 and as ambassador to Venezuela from 2003 to 2006. After retirement from the Diplomatic Service he was chief executive of Wilton Park from 2007-2009.

A governor of Steyning Grammar School, Mr Lamont is also a founding board member of Sistema Scotland, trustee of Sussex disability awareness charity Enable Me, deputy chairman of the British Uruguayan Society, chairman of Friends of the Falkland Islands Museum and the Jane Cameron National Archive and a member of the Shadow Board of Sussex Arts Academy.