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Rob’s key role in Polar supper

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Rob's key role in Polar supper

A MAN from Newton Stewart has helped organise the biggest-ever Burns Supper held in Antarctica.

Around 140 people working at the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station in Antarctica celebrated the Bard’s life at what is believed to be the world’s most southerly knees-up on Saturday.

They enjoyed all the traditions, including addresses, poems, singing and food, with haggis transported aboard the UK’s state-of-the-art exploration ship RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Kilt-wearing Rob Kerr was one of the organisers and enjoyed playing some traditional Scottish reels on his accordion to get the after-dinner ceilidh in full swing.

Site agent Rob, 33, from Newton Stewart, said: “We might be in one of the remotest places on Earth, but nothing can stop Scots from celebrating Burns Night.

“There are about 50 Scots on site and 140 people here in total. You’d be hard pushed to find a busier Burns Supper.

“My father is accordionist at Newton Stewart Burns Club and I am sure he will be proud of the continued family involvement in celebrating Burns.”

Dad-of-two Rob was deployed to Antarctica in November and says the Burns Supper is the perfect morale booster for those spending long periods away from loved ones.

He said: “It’s been strange being away for Christmas and New Year. It was a bitter-sweet experience because it’s amazing to get a chance to work in a place like this.

“Events like this are so important because they help break up the long season into wee milestones to look forward to.

“Rothera has a diverse culture, and it is nice to share these traditions with those who have not experienced it before.

“I was proud to be wearing my kilt, although I’ll be staying indoors as much as possible as it can be a bit nippy outside.”

Rothera Research Station is part of a UK Government polar infrastructure investment programme which is keeping Britain at the forefront of world-leading climate change research in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “I’d like to toast Scots celebrating Burns Night across the world, even in Antarctica.

“The UK Government is proud to support British scientists at the forefront of polar research, as we lead the world on getting to grips with climate change.

“Our ongoing investment in science demonstrates our determination to build on the legacy of COP26 in Glasgow to drive forward a greener future to save our planet.”


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