Letter: Polar inspiration

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The Independent Online
Sir: In these disturbing and depressing times I derived some comfort from the rejoinders in your newspaper today to Margaret Maxwell's denigration of the trans-polar journey by Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Michael Stroud (15 February). It ill becomes Ms Maxwell to question the motives underlying this astonishing feat of human endurance and courage, which was also associated with a concern for people who suffer from a particularly sad and intractable form of illness.

Surely, at a time when, as never before, we need to develop these qualities in the young generation, this story should be accepted at its face value, as a shining example for Britain's youth.

I venture to hope that those responsible for the education of young people, be they ministers, administrators, school governors or teachers, will take a further look at the programmes and tests the Government is pursuing with such crusading zeal, and ask themselves with some humility whether they have taken these human qualities sufficiently into account, alongside the academic and technical knowledge necessary for employment, to help boys and girls to grow up as enterprising and caring members of our society.

Yours faithfully,


Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire