Portsmouth woman chosen to manage post office's gift shop - in Antarctica

ADVENTUROUS Lauren Elliott is swapping pens for penguins as she sets off to the Antarctic – managing a shop.

By Richard Lemmer
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 7:00 am
The new UKAHT team for the 2019/20 season at Port Lockroy Left to right in the group shot: Lauren, Lucy, Heidi, Vicky and Kit. UK Antarctic Heritage Trust

Stationary shop manager Lauren Elliott, from Copnor, Portsmouth, is among a team of five people running the world’s most remote post office, which includes a gift shop and a museum.

The team will be stationed at the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's outpost at Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island, from November to March 2020. 

The 25-year-old will be selling t-shirts, cuddly toy penguins, and whiskey tumblers to the 18,000 tourists that visit the outpost every year. 

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Lauren Elliott will travel more than 11,000 miles to reach the polar research station.

Lauren, who has managed children’s stationary store Smiggle in Southampton for the last year, said she was ‘sure’ she would miss her home 8,646 miles away when she arrives.

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She said: ‘When you live in Portsmouth you do not appreciate it until you leave. 

I'm going to miss my friends and family - but there's not many jobs where you get to see penguins every day.’

Lauren Elliott, who will manage a gift shop in Antarctica, on top of Ben Nevis.

The University of Brighton graduate lives with mum Heather and dad Eddie at the moment - and has reassured them she is ‘not travelling half way around to get away from them’.

She said: ‘I wanted to go because I saw the application online and I was interested in the history of the island. 

‘It will also be an opportunity to support work that helps the environment.’

In 1943 a British military expedition set up the Port Lockroy research station, which remained in use until 1962. 

As well as running tourist attractions on the site, Lauren and the rest of the team, comprising another Brit, an Irishman, Scot and a Finn, will study how climate change is affecting the island’s gentoo penguins.

Camilla Nichol, chief executive at UKAHT, said: ‘The team’s combined experience, from mountaineering to public engagement, will stand them in good stead to live and work in this unique and challenging environment.’

Lauren said she was feeling prepared for the challenging polar environment thanks to a gift from her mum.

She said: ‘Mum has already bought me a pair of very fluffy socks.’ 

The team’s progress can be tracked at ukaht.org