Thorne students climb high for children’s hospice

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The ascent of a North Yorkshire peak has seen a group of students raise money for local charity and elevated their self-esteem.

The demanding walk up Pen-y-ghent saw 14-year-olds Ellie Davies, Jordan Wynne, Dylan Booth, Bevan Robson, Matthew Featherstone and Ewan Storey, from Trinity Academy, in Thorne, complete a personal challenge and raise money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, one of the academy’s chosen charities.

While all have been applauded for their success, Ewan has received a Principal’s Commendation for his care towards a member of staff overcome by vertigo on the 694m mountain.

Alternative provision manager Michelle Cameron, who was the team’s driver, last visited Pen-y-ghent when she was 18 and, on returning, found it to be much steeper than she recalled.

“I now suffer from vertigo quite badly. I was terrified to make the climb but the thought of coming down the easier route meant I felt I could push myself to get up there,” she explained.

However, Pippa, the dog owned by academy vice principal John Bunce, who was leading the party, went missing at the top so they had to return by the steeper route.

“I was petrified, shaking and almost paralysed with fear,” said Ms Cameron.

“Ewan Storey saw my panic. He spoke calming words to me and he stood in between me and the sheer drop. He talked to me the whole time. He held my hand and didn’t let go. He obscured the worse of the views from me so that I wouldn’t panic. 

“He protected my dignity from the other students but not once did he try to look like a hero to the others. He was a hero to me that day. Every time I tried to thank or praise him he dismissed it out of hand. I can’t thank him enough for the kindness he showed me. He is an amazing young man.”

Fuelled by refreshments donated by Sainsbury’s in Thorne, the students said they were driven by the opportunity to raise money for the children’s hospice.

Bevan said: “It was good to do something for a good cause. Walking up a hill isn’t what we’re used to but I enjoyed it.”

Jordan added: “It was a good experience and I’d like to do it again.”

Lorna Hadwin, head of Year 10 who selected the students and also accompanied them on the climb, said: “They were absolutely amazing, showing complete determination and courage. They all demonstrated a different skill set, showed their personal strengths and came back to school in a positive frame of mind.”

Mr Bunce added: “The purpose of the challenge was to help the students gain self-confidence and engage in a challenge that helped them also to think outside of themselves and give to others by raising money. Giving them a fresh focus has helped them have renewed focus on school.”

Mr Bunce has recently started a new company, Up Mountains, with his wife Lizzie that, through guided walks and challenges, seeks to help people address and overcome issues in their lives.

He added: “We believe that conquering a physical mountain can help to overcome an emotional one – whether that is a relationship to rebuild, a tough decision that needs to be made or simply to gain a new perspective on life. 

“It combines the elation of overcoming a physical challenge with the application of emotional logic and can help kick start a process of recovery, reconciliation and even healing. We walk, we talk and help people to reach a point where they can live life in all its fullness.”

For more information, visit www.upmountains.org