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Therfield School - KS5 Results - Press Release

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Therfield Presents Alice in Wonderland

Therfield presents   Alice in Wonderland   Wednesday 24th April 2019   Thursday 25th April 2...

  • 6th Form Open Evening 2019

  • Therfield School - KS4 Results - Press Release

  • Therfield School - KS5 Results - Press Release

  • GCSE Art Exhibition

  • Therfield Presents Alice in Wonderland

Therfield school climbing club 'leads' the way... and meet Steve Backshall of 'Deadly 60' fame!

 

Therfield school climbing club goes from strength to strength as this academic year’s climbing sessions draw to a close, along with a surprise celebrity photo opportunity!

 

Five years ago, as a keen climber herself, Mrs Pickett thought it would be a great idea to encourage a few students to get involved, little did she know what she had started......

 

In 2009 the club began, humble origins with just 8 students, climbing at High Sports Redhill (which has now closed, nothing to do with us I might add!) the group enjoyed climbing and abseiling and the 'weather gods' even allowed us an outside trip that first year with students sampling the delights of sandstone routes, including a lovely 'slimy' chimney, climbing on sandstone is an art in itself and the students involved got stuck in with enthusiasm, particularly to the hot dog picnic!

 

Over the next couple of years the club continued to grow, and the weather gods managed to scupper most attempts to climb outside, so we were relegated to plastic holds on artificial walls, but many of those involved from the start got their first taste of real rock by joining the Summer Mountain Experience in North Wales where scrambling and climbing were on the menu.

 

By 2012 we were ready for a change, students such as Adam Brady and Ben Harding had now been with the club for 2 years were ready for a new challenge, and while Mrs Pickett was qualified and able to teach them to 'lead climb' (no longer having a top-rope above them, instead 'clipping' the rope into pre- placed quickdraws) she could not supervise junior climbs and teach advanced climbers, she needed some help!  So we changed venue, moving to Craggy Island in Guildford, their lead climbing routes were superb and there were lots of routes on offer for new and progressing climbers, so in  2012, with 21 students signed up (from 8 In that first year) we set off for our new venue, splitting the group into 'sessions' so they could all climb.  We also began our first groups of lead climbs, with Ben Morgan, Peter Stock and Oliver Wilson being the first three climbers to progress to this, and doing so extremely well, they were on the competition wall within a couple of weeks!

 

The floodgates had opened and these three were swiftly followed by Ben Harding, Adam Brady, Chris Weightman, Matthew Lambert, Lucy Wilcocks, Lucy Mottram, Jordan Nicolle and Hannah Rothwell taking up the challenge.  Our advanced students now had a new challenge and there were new students waiting in the wings to start the following season.

 

2013 - 14 academic year, clubs fair in September and Mrs Pickett was hoping for similar numbers to the previous year.....41 members this time round!

Time for a change of plan, so those who were soon to be 14 did some training then completed their junior competency test while the lead courses continued and Mrs Pickett trained the younger students, almost 18 sessions later and we have another 10 lead climbers (Elliot Woodhouse and Sam Valente completing their initial training with us, then their lead training over the Easter break), another 4 having achieved junior competency and

18 junior climbers (all competent, just not old enough!), a far cry from our humble beginnings.

 

But it does not stop there..... many of the club members have taken full advantage of the wide variety of Adventurous Activities on offer here at Therfield with many of them joining the Summer Mountain Experience before progressing onto the Winter Mountain Experience, utilising their climbing skills in both summer and winter conditions.

 

The students have had many ‘treats’ across the years, especially Mrs Pickett’s infamous cake, but were surprised to see a ‘celebrity’ at Craggy Island when we arrived on Friday…….although Mrs Pickett had no idea who they were talking about!  It turned out to be Steve Backshall, presenter of CBBC’s Deadly 60 series and a passionate advocate of outdoor pursuits (climbing, mountaineering, kayaking and cycling, just like Mrs Pickett…..?).  Steve very kindly agreed to be photographed with our students and chatted briefly to them before continuing his climbing, as the students talked through their climbing experiences and said what a great opportunity it was, Steve countered with ‘and you are very lucky to have a teacher willing to take you climbing’ – thanks Steve!

 

Whilst it is lovely to be ‘praised’ for offering students the opportunities we do, I take enormous pride in watching students progress from nervous climbers to confident, independent climbers.  One such student,  Matt Fenton-Jones, exemplifies this, watching him complete his first lead climb on Friday was the culmination of his journey and Matt’s confidence has grown such that he also climbs with friends in his spare time.

 

I wonder how many we will have next year……?