Usk man to become Antarctica's postie
11:20am Saturday 2nd February 2013 in Gwent news
AN USK man will take on the role of polar postmaster this weekend when he re-opens an Antarctic post office for the first time in 50 years Tudor Morgan, from Usk and fellow Welshman Michael Powell will re-open the abandoned post office in the most remote continent on Earth.
The British Post Office, at Detaille Island on the Arrowsmith Peninsula in Antarctica, will have no telephone, internet access, mains electricity or running water, but it will provide a fully-functioning international mail service to the rest of the world and provide funds to continue the work of the trust.
Mr Morgan, 41, of Kingcoed, who is project consultant for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, (UKAHT) will operate the post office from a historic British base selling British Antarctic Territory stamps. Around 25 cruise ships will call in to use the Post Office over the next few weeks carrying mainly American and European passengers.
During this time more than 300 letters will be franked and despatched around the world.
The Post Office was built on the base in the 1950s and used by the men to send parcels home.
Mr Morgan was honoured in the New Year's Honours List with a Polar Medal for outstanding achievement and service to the UK in the field of Polar Research and Heritage during an eighteen-year career.
He said it is an honour to be a Polar Postmaster. He said: "It's a privilege to be able to re-open it after all this time and reconnect the building with the world". Mr Morgan will be assisted by Anna Malaos who works as UKAHT's Operations Manager to ensure the letters get a highly-prized stamp and post mark before travelling by sea to the Falkland Islands when they will enter the international mailing system.
All the money raised from stamp sales will go towards saving the historic building and protecting it against the harsh winter weather.
The summer temperature on the peninsula varies between 10C and -10C, but can drop to as low as -40C during winter. It is daylight for 24 hours but will begin to fade at the end of February when the base closes and it gets too cold.
The nearest people to him are the scientists working at Rothera Research Station which is a modern British Antarctic Survey base about 100km away.
The Post Office closes at the end of the Antarctic season in late February and but until then Mr Morgan will stay on the base carrying out various jobs such as helping to catalogue some of the artefacts on the base which was one of four used by explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton on their journeys to the South Pole.
UKAHT works to conserve and safeguard the few remaining historic buildings left in Antartica. Mr Morgan runs the trust with wife Rachel from their home, but spends much of the year in the Antarctic.