Here’s Henry Worsley – @shackletonsolo – as I’ll always remember him: stoic, humble, kind-hearted, my friend and someone I looked up more than I ever had the chance to let him know. This is a tribute and photograph by Ben Saunders on Facebook.
He showed me this cushion a few years ago and his eyes lit up as he told me the story. It had been given to him by an inmate at Wandsworth Prison, where Henry volunteered to teach needlework. He was a serving officer in the Special Air Service at the time, and told me that learning to sew had helped calm his nerves when he first spent time in a war zone, and that he loved teaching it now, decades after his first deployment.
Henry was a hard man of the rarest kind. There’s a superficial toughness a lot of men like to portray – all strut and swagger and aggression; men holding ugly masks up to conceal their fear. And then there’s the serene equanimity that radiated from Henry: a steadfast, resolute solidity that came from not from fear but from love, from a positive human spirt, and from a heart that shone.
Henry usually signed off his messages with a single word.
Today I read the tribute above, to Henry Worsley, adventurer, soldier and all round REAL man. This man SEWED. From now on I will carry out my craft classes with that little bit more pride and determination.
He had raised over £100,000 to help injured service men and women. His latest adventure was an attempt to complete Sir Ernest Shackleton’s unfinished journey to the South Pole, solo. Sadly he failed just 30 miles from his target.
THIS MAN SEWED,
RIP Henry Worsley