Monument to Antarctic hero to be built in Compass Gardens

A MONUMENT commemorating the achievements of a forgotten hero from Skegness’s past will be built in Compass Gardens, the town council has agreed.

Councillors at last Wednesday’s direction and strategy committee decided that a statue of a compass pointing southwards would be the most fitting way to honour the Antarctic explorer Jesse Handsely.

Coun Steve Kirk said: “This was an amazingly special achievement, worthy of worldwide recognition and I think it needs something pretty special to honour him.”

Mr Handsley was part of Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition and has two Antarctic landmarks named after him by the New Zealand government but until his historic achievements were unearthed by a Lincolnshire woman researching her ancestry, he had gone unnoticed by his birth town.

Jane Handsley alerted Skegness archivist Angela Gooch to her discovery and together they brought it to the attention of the town council.

Coun Kirk’s initial suggestion to commemorate Mr Handsely as an honoured citizen was discounted for failing to meet the specific criteria of that award, and so other suggestions were considered by the council’s direction and strategy committee.

Coun Phil Kemp’s idea to construct a ‘wall of fame’ honouring Mr Handsley, and other heroic figures from Skegness’s past, was met with a favourable response from many councillors, whereas Coun Kirk felt a large piece of granite with a plaque near Skegness Lifeboat Station would be fitting for a petty officer in the navy.

Of all the suggestions raised, however, the compass monument and plaque was felt to be the most apt.

l Next week’s Standard will feature Jane Handsely’s research so far.