Published: Monday, 10 July 2017 13:28
The News that the The Orkney Isles Council is awarding Dr. John Rae a posthumous honour of The Freedom of The County of Orkney is so welcomely applauded.
As President of The John Rae Society, I thank wholeheartedly the School Place Chamber for making this highly significant decision. I wish to speak for our international membership… So many of them have pled for a public honour. This is now being done. They, and all our varied and dispersed supporters will be so delighted too.
It is a matter of conscience and honour that this is done. It makes one of those huge steps in respecting ‘Long Strides’ who mapped The Northwest Passage and brought home the unwelcome but honest news of the demise of The Franklin Expedition.
It is not just The John Rae Society that has effected this. The strivings of the Board of Stromness Museum for over a century, and further decades that will have inspired this splendid outcome. The efforts of The Orkney Heritage Society have, too, played an enormous part in bringing this together with their public support during The Restoration Programme.
Alistair Carmichael’s stalwart efforts to have a permanent memorial to John Rae in Westminster Abbey further urges this rare accolade forward.
I am now personally delighted that it is incumbent on The John Rae Society to complete the purchase of The Hall of Clestrain, John Rae’s family home, and preserve it for future generations as an example of a great man who had an enormous understanding of the natural world and those peoples who lived with and within it.
A question was asked? Who should be present to accept this award? May I suggest Jane Hamilton and Mary Davey, Great Great Grand nieces of Joh Rae and, so importantly, representatives of the Inuit Nation from Nanuvut.
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With all good wishes,