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He is regarded as one of History’s favorite sons and one of the greatest leaders ever to live, and now polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton has been honored by the establishment of a special foundation dedicated to helping inspirational leaders who make a difference to the less advantaged. And in support of this exciting new initiative, British author Andy McNab is offering his fans the chance to have the villain in his next book named after them.

McNab – a former SAS soldier and best-selling author of Bravo Two Zero and Firewall – will auction the naming rights at a Shackleton Foundation dinner to be held on June 25, and expects to raise over $100,000 for the charity.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support this new charity,” said McNab. “Shackleton has always been a hero of mine, and I think the Foundation’s mission to identify similarly inspiring leaders in today’s world is excellent.”

Ernest Shackleton was born in 1874, and in recent years has gained wide popularity for his Antarctic expeditions early last century. Born in Ireland but raised in England among a family of girls, Shackleton first visited Antarctica with Captain Robert Falcon Scott as part of the Discovery expedition in 1901. But it was his second expedition – aboard the Nimrod in 1908 – that put him on the map. Accompanied by three crew members, the explorer got to within 97 miles of the South Pole, which at that point had still never been reached by humans. But despite being so close to their objective, Shackleton turned around, knowing that they would never return if they kept going.

As part of its leadership initiatives, the Shackleton Foundation will be leading a special expedition to the pole in October 2008, exactly 100 years after the original Nimrod expedition. The Foundation will be sending six of the original team’s descendents to follow the same 900-mile, 80-day route that Shackleton took. More information about the adventure can be found at their official website.

Shackleton returned to the Southern Continent in 1914, as leader of the Endurance Expedition. After losing his ship to the ice, Sir Ernest Shackleton gained immortality by successfully leading his crew of 28 men through two long dark winters without loss of life. He died in 1922, while leading his fourth expedition south.

To make an advanced bid in the auction, visit the Shackleton Foundation website.

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