Guest speaker James Ketchell kept Fairmead sixth formers enthralled at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards evening at the Octogon Theatre.
James Ketchell is ‘The Ultimate Triathlete’ who in 2014 became the first and only person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summited Mount Everest and cycled 18,000 miles around the world. He raises huge sums for charities and is a Scouting Ambassador.
LSA Hannah Forrest who supported the students with their D of E map reading skills and on both the practice expedition and real expedition, said: ” We had a really nice evening and a fantastic speaker. The students were all very interested in what he had to say. I was very proud that all but two of them went on stage to collect their certificates, which was quite nerve wracking because there were hundreds of people in the audience.
“What I most enjoyed about the whole D of E experience was teaching the students all the different signs and symbols on the map – like the symbol for a church, a lake and hills. It was also great fun cooking on the campfire at Ham Hill where we did our practice walk. It was more serious and focused on the real expedition because we had to achieve our award, but we enjoyed the challenge immensely”.
Hannah explained that to make things fairer for some students, there was a short route and a long route. Chris was one student who took the shorter route because he wasn’t the fastest walker, however Chris said that he really enjoyed the walking the most and eating outside and helping to put up a tent were his next best bits.
D of E coordinator and HLTA Sharon Chawley organised for the students to learn First Aid, complete a programme of fitness training at Goldenstones gym and swimming pool, and fund raise on behalf of the charity Water Aid. These elements counted towards the final bronze award.
Sharon said: “The students did a fantastic job raising money for Water Aid, but they also raised enough money to buy the school new tents for their own, and future D of E participants’s, use. We had a very interesting awards evening at the Octogon Theatre and when I looked down the row of our students, they were all completely quiet for the whole 45 minutes that James spoke. He was very inspirational’.
James presented the students with their certificates and also signed the students’ programmes with personalised messages. Molly’s read: “The world is waiting for you Molly”.