Head’s challenge

Ellis Stewart (left) puts a back pack onto Ben Margetts as Mark Bradley (right) does the same to Mark Atkinson)
Ellis Stewart (left) puts a back pack onto Ben Margetts as Mark Bradley (right) does the same to Mark Atkinson)

A PRIMARY school headteacher joined a determined mountaineer in an infamously gruelling challenge used as part of the SAS selection programme.

For motivated Ellis Stewart, the 15 mile Fan Dance across the highest mountains of the Brecon Beacons was another step towards his ultimate dream - climbing Mount Everest later this year.

But he had some company for his latest impressive effort, including Mark Atkinson, the headteacher at Throston Primary School.

The pair were joined by their pal Mark Bradley and Ben Margetts, community fundraising manager for the NSPCC.

And as well as completing the demanding challenge, the team also managed to raise more than £500 for the children’s charity.

In his weekly column in the Mail, Ellis, 40, who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of Hartlepool, described the horrendous conditions which greeted the men throughout the non-navigational race over the two sides of Pen Y Fan.

And Mr Atkinson admitted he found the challenge “extremely tough” but was delighted to have completed it and raised even more money for the NSPCC.

Children, staff and parents at Throston Primary School, in Flint Walk, have held various fundraisers for the charity since Ellis set out on his Everest dream with the backing of the NSPCC.

Mr Atkinson said: “It was very difficult but we knew it was going to be.

“The weather played a big part, it was so cold and wet.

“It was great training for Ellis but I was quite proud of myself as well by the time we had finished it.”

Ellis is hoping to raise £29,000 through his challenges, which will all be donated to NSPCC’s ChildLine Schools Service, set up to give primary school children the awareness they need to recognise abuse and to seek help if needed.

To support Ellis visit www.everestdream.co.uk or www.justgiving.com/everest2013.