Our first Year

16 December 2014

John Rae Society’s First Year

As you will see, we have been rather busy!

Behind the scenes work to get a memorial to John Rae in Westminster Abbey had been ongoing for some years. Professor Russell Potter from America made early approaches to The Dean and Alistair Carmichael, now Secretary of State for Scotland. Alistair dutifully continued the persuasion along with Trustees of Stromness Museum.

By surprise in early June Alistair announced to The John Rae Society that this was to happen. He told us that The Dean, The Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, had suggested 30th September, being John Rae’s 201st birthday. Alistair requested we raised the money for the stone, the Abbey expenses and an official reception at Dover House. The programme was simple: When the Abbey was closing to the public, all invited guests would gather at The Great West Door for 3.30 p.m. The dedication would take place at 4.00 p.m., then Evensong at 5.00: After this there would be a reception at Dover House.

It also became the responsibility of our Society to organise the finer details. This proved to be a major task full of steep learning curves. I am personally grateful to Janette Park of Stromness Museum for her invaluable help with the guest list. Anna Elmy worked diligently with me on sending the invites and constantly editing the guest list. This was a difficult task. We were really only allowed sixty to seventy attendees, due to very limited space in St. John The Evangelist’s Chapel, where Sir John Franklin’s memorial stands