Shackleton heroics inspire late-blooming banjo entrepreneur

A LATE-BLOOMING entrepreneur and author is attempting to establish a new clothing brand inspired by his hero, the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Ernest Shackleton - from his biography published by Oneworld Publications

Simon Middleton admits that it took him until his mid-fifties to find his true inspiration, and is now determined to prove that being middle-aged is no barrier to building a branded business which embraces musical instruments as beer as well as clothing.

The Shackleton range of clothing, inspired by photographs of Shackleton and his men on the Antarctic ice exactly 100 years ago, is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform, through which Mr Middleton is trying to raise £30,000 of development money for the project.

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If he succeeds his company will produce jackets, trousers, shirts, boots and accessories.

The entrepreneur said he spent more than 30 years doing “conventional” jobs before branching out on his own.

He trained as a primary school teacher, and has been a nurse and an NHS manager, as well as an advertising copywriter and creative director.

His first Kickstarter campaign raised £48,000 in 2013 and funded the opening of Britain’s first and only banjo factory in more than six decades.

His company also produces craft beers.