Scheme celebrates 60 years

KSHS students left to right: Sophie Morton (17), Holly Parkinson (18), Sophie Peace (18), Sydney Mawer (18), Phoebe Morgan (17), and Freja Munks (17). EMN-161216-134343001
KSHS students left to right: Sophie Morton (17), Holly Parkinson (18), Sophie Peace (18), Sydney Mawer (18), Phoebe Morgan (17), and Freja Munks (17). EMN-161216-134343001

A team of Sleaford students and teachers have taken part in a diamond challenge associated with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards (DofE).

The award scheme, which is now in its 60th year, is open to those aged 14 to 24 and allows participants to earn bronze, silver and gold awards.

The diamond challenge is open to all ages, and is available to those who did not take part at school or university.

With the challenge ending this month, staff and students at Kesteven and Sleaford High School stepped up to the mark.

Representatives made up of 11 volunteer supervisors completed a night navigation of 8.31km with a 320m climb, which took them three hours and eight minutes.

The next day, they were split into two groups, dropped off at an unknown grid reference and had to get back to the barn – part of a return-to-sender challenge.

It covered 17.8km and involved a 579m climb, which was completed in six hours and 27 minutes.

The team included Mel Walker, Neil Periam, Karen Turner, Dave Walker, Kim Duffy, Amy Beckitt, Teresa Milnes, Emma Turner, Andrew Martinelli, Abi Walker and Rob Dye.

Mel said: “I am extremely proud to be a leader for this fantastic scheme and to complete the diamond challenge having never had the opportunity to complete the award as a teen makes this even more special.”

The student team was made up Sophie Morton, 17, Holly Parkinson, 18, Sophie Peace, 18, Sydney Mawer, 18, Phoebe Morgan, 17, and Freja Munks, 17, the first gold participants at the school since 2007.

Students described the challenge as a chance to ‘bring our journey through the award to an end that both celebrates what we have been through together and what we hope other students can achieve in the future’.

They chose ghyll scrambling and gorge walking in Derbyshire as their challenge.

Some of the group were not confident in water, which proved a struggle when climbing waterfalls and jumping into natural pools, but students were aided by Lost Earth Adventures, which supplied equipment and led the team through a three-hour training course prior to the challenge.

The diamond challenge involves participants raising £60 to enable disadvantaged young people in their area to experience the same opportunities with DofE that students have benefitted from.

Some students raised more than £60, including Sydney Mawer (£110), Phoebe Morgan (£75) and Sophie Peace (£72).