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, just after Easter, an experience that even the hardiest found challenging.
The D of E scheme has been in operation since 1956 and tens of thousands of young people across the country have successfully completed the challenge. For this element, the Hurst cohorts navigated between Staple Ash (near Chichester) and The Pad at Lancing, via a pre-planned set of check points, taking 3 days and staying under canvas for two nights to complete the journey.
In order to be self-sufficient for the duration of their expedition, 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.
Otherl groups from the College are currently working towards this ultimate accolade by undertaking an even more testing expedition on 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 demonstrates 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 Hurst pupil undertakes the Silver Award and many go on to complete the Gold. The whole process fosters so many important life skills and experiences and helps every participant grow in personal confidence as they address challenges both as individuals and 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."
18 May 2013