Students triumph in test of spirit and teamwork

STUDENTS from Gordon’s School in West End took pulling together literally when they tackled the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award.

The team of six, part of a contingent of almost 120 Year 9 pupils, had their comradeship put to the test when the motorised buggy used by one of the group stopped working.

TEAM SPIRIT – Gordon’s students work together to make sure Archie Blomfield crosses the finishing line with them

Wheelchair user Archie Blomfield was taking part in a special off-road buggy he calls “The Rover”, but the vehicle’s battery failed three miles from the finishing line.

Undaunted and determined to finish as a team, the rest of the group attached ropes to the buggy and pulled Archie along, also pushing him uphill and helping him through obstacles while the buggy was lifted over them.

If that were not proof enough of the team’s remarkable spirit, they picked up another passenger when one of the expedition’s instructors, Charlotte Arnold, chipped a bone in her ankle.

Injured instructor Charlotte Arnold, blue cap, hitches a ride for the final stretch

She managed to climb onto the buggy and was also pulled along for the final half-mile.

“It was a big adventure,” Archie said. “They carried me over and around fences we had a great time.”

Team leader Esme Evans added: “We struggled at times but Archie was really helpful and kept the group’s morale up. We all worked together as a team to carry his buggy over the fences.

“It was a great experience made all the more special because we had to really work as a team.”

Charlotte, from BMX Expeditions, co-organisers of the expedition with Gordon’s, said: “They were an absolutely amazing team and such a credit to the school, they dealt with whatever was chucked at them. They were my favourite group this year.”

The students had endured rain, sun and freezing temperatures for their practice expedition the previous weekend, before their final two-day overnight expedition in the Surrey Hills.

There were some obstacles even the Rover needed a hand with

As part of the award, each group was required to carry their camping equipment and food and water, spending six hours each day on their planned activity.

Gordon’s School headmaster Andrew Moss said: “This is what the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is all about.

“Their actions and the way in which they took responsibility for getting Archie and the instructor to the finishing line were part of this lasting legacy to HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh and a source of pride to the school.”

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