PRIMARY school pupils climbed nearly 3,500 metres to the top of the world’s highest mountain – without leaving the school yard.
One hundred and sixty one youngsters from Throston Primary School reached the top of a climbing wall set up on the school site 580 times – the equivalent of the distance from South Base Camp to the summit of Mount Everest.
And on hand to give the pupils some expert advice and guidance was Ellis Stewart, who has already made it to the peak of some of the world’s most challenging climbs and is currently fundraising for his lifelong dream, to climb Everest.
Ellis, 39, a dad-of-three whose children all attend Throston Primary School is a long-term supporter of the NSPCC, which is also the school’s nominated charity of the year.
And yesterday’s quirky school activity was the latest in a number of events organised to raise money for the cause.
Ellis, who lives in Hartlepool’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, said: “It was great fun.
“The kids were all really keen to get involved and even if it got just one of the youngsters keen to start climbing themselves then it was a huge success. It was another way of raising awareness for the charity and the main thing was the children all really enjoyed it.”
Mark Atkinson, the school’s headteacher, added: “It was a fantastic day and I think the children realised just how much of a challenge Ellis is facing when he goes to climb Everest, especially considering the height we scaled was from the base camp.
“It was nice having Ellis in school, he brought a lot of his kit with him which the children loved and obviously it was great for them to support the charity.
“Who knows, it may have even inspired a child to one day emulate Ellis.”
Mr Atkinson added: “We don’t have a target of how much we want to raise for the NSPCC.
“This was one of a number of events and activities we have organised and we will continue to support the charity until Ellis completes his challenge.”
Mr Atkinson thanked the West View Project who donated the use of the climbing wall free of charge for the day.
For more information about Ellis’s climb visit www.everestdream.co.uk and to sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/everest2013.