It was with great sadness that we received the news of the death of our dear friend Stig-Tore Lunde on 5 March 2023, at less than 68 years old. Stig-Tore played a key role in the South Georgia Heritage Trust from its inception, and contributed to all aspects of its work, from heritage and environmental conservation to education.
Stig-Tore was a schoolteacher by training. Back in 2002 when he also worked part time with the Whaling Museum in Sandefjord, he was engaged by Frederik Paulsen’s Institut Minos, to try to increase the interest in Norway for conservation and heritage work at South Georgia. Stig-Tore soon made his first trip to the island and made contacts with David Nicholls and his Project Atlantis team in Dundee who were also planning heritage work on the island. Both initiatives were instrumental in leading up to the foundation of SGHT in 2005.
SGHT’s first major project in 2005/06 was organized and managed by Stig-Tore when he arranged for the visit of a group of volunteer craftsmen from Norway who renovated Husvik Manager’s Villa and radio shed on South Georgia, preserving Husvik’s history and providing accommodation for expedition parties.
Sponsored by Institut Minos, Stig-Tore published ‘Grytviken seen through a camera lens’, a beautiful book showing Grytviken’s whaling community at work and play, in the magnificent natural surroundings which formed the background to their lives. The proceeds from this ever-popular publication went on to fund the work of SGHT’s Norwegian arm, which was set up and coordinated by Stig-Tore and Trustee Bjorn L. Basberg on a voluntary basis.
Through his career at The Whaling Museum, Sandefjord, Stig-Tore fostered links between it and the South Georgia Museum, encouraging joint exhibitions and collaborations. He drew attention to the parallels between South Georgia and his hometown of Sandefjord, which is also the home of the sister ship Foca of the vessel Albatros which is hauled up at Grytviken, and the place where Shackleton’s famous ship the Endurance was built.
Stig-Tore also helped SGHT connect with Norwegian Trusts and Foundations and in particular the Bess Jahres Foundation. Its charitable aim of bird conservation coincided with Stig-Tore’s own passion for birds and birdwatching, and thanks to Stig-Tore, significant funds were raised to protect South Georgia’s native birds.
The SGHT community sends their condolences and support to his family, with huge gratitude for all of his contributions to the conservation of South Georgia’s heritage.