29th June 1954 – 9th September 2011
We were saddened to learn of the death of one of our founder members ‘Mo’ Baren nee Gingell who died after an 18 month battle against cancer.
As one of the founder members of Southsea Spelaeological Society (SSS) Mo was an active participant and organiser (as club secretary) of many of the events of the early years including the 1978 expedition to the Grotte Casteret, the highest ice cave in Europe.
Originally from the West Country with family on Mendip Mo started caving whilst studying at the Portsmouth Training College and it was whilst there that she helped found SSS. She settled in Portsmouth after qualifying as a teacher where she spent the rest of her career teaching geography.
As a group of young, looking back, very young, cavers, it was Mo who kept us on the straight and narrow. On one occasion she paid my camping fees (20p) as I had spent all my money in the pub the night before. Anyone crossing the line of what was acceptable would feel the hairs on the back of their neck rise and looking up be aware that Mo was giving them the ‘Mo Look’ famous to both cavers and the students in her charge.
Never one to duck a challenge Mo obtained an HGV class 1 and took up motorcycling in later years.
Mo moved on from caving but always kept in touch and the turnout at Portchester Crematorium for a service to celebrate her life showed how a great many people from all parts of her life regarded her.