VSU Archives
1997 to 1998

The Wilderness Years

The sad and untimely death of VSL Frank Henderson could have spelled the end for the 44th but the Unit Exec - especially Chairman Tim Andrews - had no intention of letting that happen; no way. Although the school prompted the need for an adult and member of staff to be appointed - and Geography teacher Dave Proudlove certainly stepped up to the challenge - the unit continued to run smoothly thanks to Tim's leadership and the great support he received from the out-going Exec committee (Mark Gilmore, Jody Ballard, Phil Reid, Andy Clifford); in fact they set the gold standard of an Exec-led unit, an example to which the unit has since held dear.

To quote Tim: "Don't be sad about his death, his spirit still lives on. He is in the mountains, in the rocks, in the rain but especially he is in you. In each of us there is a little bit of him. Take 5 minutes and think about old venturing times. He is still there!!"

What Tim said was quite literally felt by the small but intredid band of mainly old boys who, on a grey, damp, cold and wet Welsh November day, ascended Frank's favourite and first-climbed mountain peak Cader Idris, to scatter, according to his wishes, his ashes to their final resting place.

Around the summit cairn in the grey swirling cloud, Phil Brown solemnly scattered Frank's ashes in sober silence. Whipped up by the breezes the ashes dispersed over the summit - he was now literally in the mountains, in the rocks, in the rain but especially in all of us gathered there - for the gusty wind returned some of the ash to cover our heads. We could just imagine Frank having a good chuckle over that!

Annual Report 1997-1998

Venture 44 Edition 83  (published February 1998) - Our Man in Nepal, The Life of Tim & the Art of Navigation.

Venture 44 Edition 82  (published September 1997) - Ireland 1997 Special : Bear Island, sea fishing and DofE Gold & Silver expeditions.