Ilkeston students jet off on trip of a lifetime

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Students at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy in Ilkeston jetted off on a once-in-a-lifetime World Challenge trip.

A group of 20 year ten and 11 students flew out to Nepal in July, where they spent two weeks trekking and working on a community project.

Students were also responsible for planning the itinerary and booking accommodation along the way.

Each student had to raise £2,690 to fund the trip and to do this they held events, took part in charity runs and made and sold Christmas decorations.

Three members of staff accompanied them to Nepal, including James Wheldon, design technology teacher, who led the trip.

He said: “The expedition did not disappoint.

“We spent many hours preparing for two weeks in the Himalayas which we soon found out would be one of the most humbling environments available for the human eyes.

“All the students were absolutely amazing, taking in every opportunity to experience the culture, mix with the local community and selflessly put themselves forward for all work needed to improve the lives of the young people and educators at the village school, that we were lucky to spend some time with.

“We had three days building an exterior wall, painting fences and working in the classrooms of a local village school.

“Following this was our expedition to the Annapurna Range, arguably one of the most stunning environments in the world.

“Six days saw a full range of weather conditions. Blistering sunshine, altitude, full scale humidity and monsoon weather.”

Student Oliver Smith, 15, took part in the trip despite suffering serious arm injuries in an accident in April.

He lost the feeling in his right hand and has to wear a splint to protect his arm – which prompted Mr Wheldon to make him a 3D printed finger so that he could type and complete his GCSE coursework.

Oliver said: “I did feel a little bit nervous about being away from home for so long but it was so exciting.

“I really enjoyed going on a plane as I hadn’t been on one for a long time.

“I had to wear a splint on my right arm and couldn’t use my hand so there was just little things that I needed help with like tying my shoelaces.

“I think the only thing I wasn’t able to do was the white water rafting.”

Libby Wilton, 15, said she has some incredible memories of the trip.

She said: “The reason I signed up to go was because it was something totally different and I’d never done anything like that before.

“I’ve done things in a group but never on that scale. 
“The trek was hard as we were walking for eight hours a day for five days.

“It was also quite emotional as a lot of people didn’t think they would be able to achieve it.

“The whole trip was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”