The rolling hills of the Sussex Downs look benign on a sunny day, offering scenery that is frequently reproduced on media from cards to paintings. Freezing spring nights, hail, thunder, high winds and sudden heavy showers, however, made trekking through this landscape, over Easter, an experience that even the hardiest found challenging.
The scheme has been in operation since 1956 with young people across the country overcoming all manner of obstacles to reach its completion. Over the course of three days and two nights the Hurst cohorts navigated between Staple Ash (near Chichester) and Lancing College, via a pre-planned set of check points.
In order to be self-sufficient for the duration of the journey the walkers carried with them all the supplies necessary to maintain safety, energy and morale. The Silver Award is of course just one step away from the extreme tests that lay in wait for those who strive for Gold.
Two groups from the College have taken a step closer to achieving this feat with successful walking and canoeing expeditions over the holidays through Wales’ Brecon Beacons.
Of the six teams that remained in Sussex the group containing Alice Manly, Eliza Drummond, Gemma Grahem, Abby Carter, Georgie Mellor and Olivier McShane were the first to reach Lancing College; all wearing the kind of broad smile that concedes delight at achieving a hard fought goal.
Hurst’s Headmaster, Tim Manly, expressed his satisfaction that this group of Silver expeditions had been so successful. “I believe” he said “that the D of E scheme is of immense value which is why every pupil undertakes the Silver Award and many go on to complete the Gold. The whole process fosters so many important life skills and experiences, helping every participant to grow in personal confidence and address challenges both as individuals and when acting as a group. They have to make important decisions, assess risk and be both resilient and self-sufficient over three days. No wonder they finish bursting with enthusiasm and justifiable pride in what they have achieved. I am very proud of all of them”
20 May 2013