Altrincham pupils scale new heights to raise funds for Sierra Leone trip

By David Prior at

A team of St Ambrose College hillwalkers have completed the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge to raise £3,500 for next year’s school trip to Sierra Leone.

Nine sixth formers, accompanied by veteran mountain man Matthew O’Neill who doubles as the Hale Barns Catholic Grammar School’s Head of Religious Education, completed the 26 mile trek up Pen-y-Ghent (691m), Whernside (728m) and Ingleborough (723m) in the allotted 12 hours.

Joshua Reeves, 17, from Over Peover, said: “I enjoyed it, but I won’t be volunteering to do it again in a hurry. It was really tough.”

St Ambrose will be sending a party of 12 students and five staff for an immersion trip to Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown where in partnership with fellow Christian Brothers’ school nationwide they set up a secondary school for some 300 pupils in 2010.

Pictured: (front l to r) Charlie Conduit, Pierce Rispin, Tom Hughes and Harvey Graham, and on the back Sam Nanda, Jack O’Donnell, Joe Hewitt and Joshua Reeves

O’Neill said: “It is the first time we will have gone out to Sierra Leone since the Ebola crisis and we are all looking forward to meeting up with old friends. As the government cannot afford to provide education, we now sponsor 10 girls orphaned by Ebola and I am sure the trip will open our young men’s eyes to the problems of the developing world and further confirm their sense of social justice.”

Tom Hughes, 17, from Altrincham, who has the bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards, said: “I am sure we will all come back completely different people from what I expect will be a life-changing experience.”

The party will fly out to Sierra Leone next February and now have £5,000 towards their £25,000 target to fund their passage and donations to the school.

Sponsors of St Ambrose’s Sierra Leone trip include: Spie, Moneypenny, Knutsford Lions Club, Primrose House B&B, TOL Events, IOM Hearing Solutions, Fit4lifeknutsford, Evoke, Ian Macklin, Long O’Donnell Associates LTD, Old Moat Hall, So Hale, Zenith House Developments, St Beuno’s Drinks, The Mobberly Brewhouse, Mergegames, BSI, UK Electronics, The Design House and Truck Care MOT Station.