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Education | ED03 | Summer 2016

A Wealden Times Magazine

Sponsored by Tunbridge

Sponsored by Tunbridge Wells Guest Speaker – Vinehall Preparatory School Tom Avery Tom Avery is one of the world’s most exciting polar explorers and a former pupil at Vinehall. He became the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole on foot and was also leader of the fastest team in history to reach the North Pole. Last summer, Tom led a team which broke the record of the fastest coastto-coast crossing of Greenland by an incredible eight days. Previously the record time had been just under 18 days. Tom’s 2005 Ultimate North team made headlines around the world for recreating Robert Peary and Matthew Henson’s disputed discovery of the North Pole in 1909, and in the process entering the Guinness Book of Records for “The Fastest Surface Journey to the North Pole”. Tom’s passion for adventure began when he read about the exploits of Captain Scott whilst a seven-year-old pupil at Vinehall. He learnt to climb in the Welsh and Scottish mountains, first on rock, before moving on to snow and ice. Tom subsequently went on to organise and lead expeditions to some of the world’s biggest mountains, including the Alps, Tanzania’s volcanoes, the Andes, New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Himalayas, climbing an array of peaks, including several unclimbed summits up to 20,000 feet in height. In April 2005 Tom and his fivestrong team enthralled the exploration world by recreating Peary and Henson’s expedition to the North Pole, travelling with teams of Eskimo dogs and replica wooden sledges. Tom’s aim was to quash the doubt as to the validity of Peary’s 37-day journey to the Pole. After an epic dash across the world’s most unforgiving environment , Tom’s exhausted team made it to the Pole with five hours to spare. More than a decade later, they remain the fastest team in history to reach the North Pole. Tom’s most recent challenge saw him breaking another World Record, for the fastest coast-to-coast crossing of Greenland in May last year. Using kites and pulling two sledges each, Tom and his three teammates beat the previous record by more than a week, completing the crossing in just nine days, 19 hours with barely any sleep. Tom returns to Vinehall this summer as the guest of honour on the final day of the term, when he will present the prizes at the annual Prizegiving Day, as well as speak about his adventures. The pupils are really excited, and talking about how he has already inspired them to take up similar challenges when they are older. This fits with the ethos of the school, which encourages intrepid learning and calculated risk-taking from the earliest years in the Nursery and Pre- Prep, right up to when the pupils depart for senior schools at the end of Year 8. Vinehall School, Robertsbridge, East Sussex, TN32 5JL. 01580 880413. Guest Speaker – St Edmund’s School Olly Clark Olly Clark attended St Edmund’s from 1996 until 2003, from Junior School through to Sixth Form when he was appointed School Captain. During his school days, Olly displayed a great strength of character and worked hard, and went on to be a high achiever. After St Edmund’s and Loughborough University and via some rally driving in Mongolia, Olly became an Army officer, was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and subsequently completed the All Arms Commando Course, serving in Operational tours in Afghanistan with the Royal Marines. Earlier this year, with his close friend Dan Parsons, Olly participated in Talisker Atlantic Challenge which is dubbed the world’s toughest rowing race. He rowed the 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean in an open boat to raise money for ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity and Prostate Cancer UK. Olly and Dan won the pairs race in 42 days, 17 hours and 59 minutes – a remarkable feat. Olly said, “Having never been in a rowing boat before this adventure was certainly a baptism of fire at times. The challenge and Ocean rowing in itself, without doubt, drew on so many of the skills and qualities that I learnt during my time at St Edmund’s and then became a foundation for my military training. Courage, Determination, Unselfishness and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity were all tested on a daily basis.” St Edmund’s School Canterbury, St Thomas’ Hill, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 8HU. 01227 475600. 36

We're going on a bear hunt! Bring your teddy and a friend and come along to Vinehall Nursery for a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and a fun morning of exploring... Friday 1st July 10am to 12pm For further information please contact Tessa Richardson on 01580 883056 or at Get ready for an adventure! VinehallSchoolWT172.indd 1 09/05/2016 17:17 Invitation Open House Meet the Heads Louise Moelwyn-Hughes Head of St Edmund’s Saturday 11 June, 10am For event programme and booking form visit Matthew Jelley Head of Junior School Julia Exley Head of Pre-Prep School 37 StEdmundsSchoolCanterburyED03.indd 1 13/05/2016 12:40