Bronze and Silver Award For Intrepid Ditcham
|Pupils from Ditcham Park School |
Pupils from Ditcham Park School have endured rain, floods, bog, marshes, mud and over 35 mechanical breakdowns to successfully complete their Final Assessed DofE Bronze Cycling Expedition in the New Forest. This was an expedition with a difference as the teams were on mountain bikes and carrying all the equipment they needed for the whole expedition in two pannier bags fixed over the rear wheels.
The Bronze DofE Team of 6 boys aged 14 -15 cycled for 2 days and camped overnight, while the Silver DofE Team of 6 boys aged 15-16 cycled for 3 days and camped for 2 nights. The equipment that they carried included tents, sleeping bags, food, cycle tools, clothes, first aid kits, maps and compasses, and enabled the teams to be fully self-reliant during the expedition.
The teams have been training for this expedition since January and the training included a gruelling expedition up, over and down the South Downs between Harting Down and Arundel in April.
The Bronze pupils, in particular, found themselves using every bike-maintenance skill that they had learnt at Owens Cycles workshop during April. As well as the usual navigation, campcraft, team-building and endurance challenges associated with DofE, this was also a test of problem-solving and using initiative, with some pretty inventive improvisations! – all enabling the team to continue and complete the expedition successfully. The wet conditions of the terrain added to the challenge as, after the heavy rain during April, areas of the New Forest remain under water, the bogs and marshes are wetter and deeper, and the paths are covered in sticky mud.
Anne Harris, DofE Co-ordinator at Ditcham Park School, said "This was an exceptionally challenging expedition, where pupils had to 'think on their feet' and work well together as a team in order to overcome the problems, to maintain a positive attitude, and to persevere to the end in order to achieve this successful outcome. Well done to the Bronze DofE Team of Ben Williams, Will Fourie, Charlie Hardman, Charles Horner, David Matheson and Reece Spalding; and to the Silver DofE Team of Henry Pickett, Chris Heaney, Jos Taylor, Nat Steele, Jaspar Rogers and Matt Young. Thank you to the Ditcham DofE Expedition Instructors Paul Milner, David Chapple and Christopher Williams; and to Owen at Owens Cycles in Petersfield for giving up their free time to enable the pupils to have this wonderful opportunity".