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Cover Photo: Tony “Jrat” Jarratt in his element- photo by Andy Chamberlain

Ave Cavers!

altThe last time I was in Jrat’s company I was sat precariously on the bonnet of his landrover bouncing across a field to see the new Wigmore 10 ‘entrance’ shaft - or at least the pipes in the ground as it was at that stage, to Young Blood’s. This was after a beer or two at the Hunters of course. While Audsley, Richards and I stared down the 10m deep freshly lined hole, our voices echoing in that oddly hollow way down the tube, Jrat remained in the landrover, his breathing difficult. But you all know, as well as I, that he would have been thinking about that new dig and the possibilities and who-knows-what-adventures awaited the explorers in the years ahead. He also knew that he would not be there to see what lay beneath but he would have accepted that fact with humility and that fatalistic approach he took to life. Nothing less than courageous in my book.

Less than a week later he was gone.

It will be very odd never to see him again in the Hunters or spy the familiar Red Land Rover bouncing across a field or hurtling down one of the lanes around Priddy and frankly, this is the hardest thing - I can’t believe he’s gone. Rana, Meghalaya, Caine Hill, and a thousand other locations will also miss him, indeed the whole of the caving world. His memory will be with all of us every time we venture underground and I’m sure numerous discoveries in the future will be named in honour of the man. We just have to keep digging to make sure this happens.  

I feel privileged to be among the very many who knew him.

Dig on Jrat…There’s always a beer in for you at the Hunters 

Yer Ed.
 

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