Honiton Community College - Climb to the topSix students from Honiton Community College recently undertook one of the most difficult tasks imaginable as a precursor to leaving school and going on to university.

Rachael Larcombe, Weasel Hooper, Carys Lilley, Ben & Sam Prangley & Cerys Little have just returned from a climb most of us can only imagine, they completed the Thee Peaks Challenge. They had to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Snowdon in less than 24 hours, and just to make life more difficult they travelled between the three mountains in the school minibus which had a top speed of only 62mph. They were all trained and led by parent volunteer Mountain Leader Warren Oak and accompanied in the climb by Principal Glenn Smith, Vice Principal Marie-Claire Adams, Language teacher Miriam Theeten and parent volunteer John Lilley. The backup crew in the bus that provided the driving, food, water and motivation for the climbers in the hours of need were Head of Sixth, Selena Burroughs, Deputy Head Andy Holt and Head of Humanities Dave Dagger. (Pictured L to R. Rachael Larcombe, Cerys Lilley, Ben Prangley, Weasel Hooper, Cerys Little, Reuben Ayres, Sam Prangley & Selena Burroughs.)

By the look of Glen & Selena when we met the pupils they had been pushed to the limit, climbing and descending Ben Nevis in four hours forty eight minutes, Scarfell Pike in five hours thirty minutes which with travelling time in-between mountains only left them four hours to scale Snowdon but due to the determination on these young people they managed it in 3 hours 34 minutes which meant they had successfully completed the challenge in the magnificent time of twenty three hours and thirty two minutes not only raising the flag for teenagers in general (usually much maligned) but also raising over £2000 for the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Services in Plymouth.

Their training consisted of continually climbing up Salcombe Hill as well as studying for their A level examinations and it was during this time that Freemasons from Fortiscue Lodge who meet in Honiton heard of their plans and decided to start the fundraising efforts of the students, they arranged for a donation from the Devonshire Masonic Benevolent Fund of £500 to help them on their way, in the words of their headmaster it was this this gave them the incentive they needed to succeed.

When Meeting the students and presenting them with their cheque W. Bro. Dr. Reuben Ayres said “It was a privilege and a delight to present a cheque for £500 to this inspirational group of six students and three teachers from Honiton Community College following their successful completion of the Three Peaks Challenge. Taking on such a physical and mentally demanding challenge and seeing it through to success is a testament to their impressive determination, application and fortitude. I take my hat off to them all”.

Upon receiving the cheque Glenn Smith said:

“Every student, whatever their background, or their school type, should be able to take on this type of challenge – it gives our young ladies and gentlemen the opportunity to develop life-long skills that they must have to succeed in society. The students who took on the Three Peaks literally rose to the challenge (three times in fact) and when they needed to dig deeper than they have ever done before, they did – proving that hard work and determination can actually take you all the way to the top!”

He also wanted to acknowledge the contribution the staff made, pointing out that

“wonderful opportunities such as these would not be possible without the generous helping of discretionary effort our staff and parents give every year.”

Selena Burroughs concluded: “We knew that this challenge was going to be close to complete in the 24hrs but all of the team, climbers, drivers and support crew were all absolutely determined to give it our best chance possible to be successful in this famous challenge. The students were an absolute credit to the sixth form and to themselves with their commitment that they showed prior to the event with their weekly training and on the actual event being incredible. The whole crew continued to motivate each other throughout and I was very proud to be part of the team and share this experience with them and be part of this lifelong memory. Their times have now been recorded on the National Three Peaks Database so they have a permanent record of their achievement. I think this is a fitting end to their seven year partnership with the College and a shining example of the drive, as well as the willpower to succeed, our students acquire.”