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Exciting Bids for the 2014 Adventure Awards

Published Tuesday 25th of March 2014 01:43:37 PM

Each year travel scholarships are awarded to Oundle School pupils to encourage a spirit of adventure, exploration and physical challenge. This year the School�s Adventure Awards Committee considered applications and presentations made by 14 different groups involving nearly 60 pupils from the Lower Sixth Form who proposed an astonishingly wide variety of exciting travel adventures.

The top award, The Dudgeon Venture Award, which will be presented at the School�s Speech Day in June, went to Monty Cholmeley (16), Max Farnsworth (16), Miles Podmore (16), Tom Bletsoe (17) and Felix Terrell (16) for their planned 90 km canoeing expedition down the Caledonian Canal over the Easter holidays.

Monty commented, �We are embarking on this adventure to see Scotland and the famous lochs and to raise money for the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA), a small charity that helps children with Battens Disease, a neuro-degenerative juvenile disease. It is a charity very close to Tom�s heart as his sister has Battens Disease. We hope to fund raise and to raise awareness through our School and communities. For more information about BDFA visit: www.bdfa-uk.org.uk/about-batten-disease .�

Another successful proposal based on water was for an expedition following the route of Jerome K Jerome�s boating holiday down the Thames, which he chronicled in Three Men in a Boat. Also based on water are the �Malta Knightly Swimmers�. Other groups will be ski touring in Switzerland and travelling in Europe.

Teacher, Thomasin Harris, commented, "Great enthusiasm and real ambition was shown by all the winners of the 2014 Adventure Awards. It was encouraging to see so many exciting expeditions planned and there has certainly been a decisive shift towards the more heroic and physical pursuits this year. There was also great variety in the applications, ranging from an endurance swim with a historical twist in Malta, to a literary inspired Eastern European city exploration and on to a quirky and quintessentially schoolboy adventure in a boat along the Thames. Another first was achieved with a successful bid to embark upon a ski touring expedition in the Swiss Alps.
The recipients of the ultimate accolade, The Dudgeon Venture Award, stood out for the Committee members as epitomising the essence of the scholarships. They were a very cohesive and passionate group of young men, captivated by the idea of canoeing up the Caldeonian Canal. It was evident from their presentation to the Committee that they are determined to see it through with meticulous planning and a proper 'roughing it' style experience along the way! All the groups who won awards this year clearly see the trips as something of a rite of passage and a way of forging a more independent and exciting way of travelling. I am convinced that it is a unique and truly memorable phase in the lives of these Lower Sixth formers and gives them something well beyond that which education or travel with family alone can achieve."

The history of the Dudgeon awards dates to the Second World War, with an Old Oundelian called Patrick Dudgeon. He was detailed to be parachuted into Italy with orders to bomb a bridge. He was captured and tortured to betray his plans and companions, but refused to speak, and was executed. The fact that his German interrogator wrote to the British commander saying that Dudgeon was the bravest man he had ever met should give some idea of what he went through before he died. His family wanted to set up something in his memory, and gave money to the School for a travel scholarship to inspire pupils to create their own adventures. Other families have done the same, and the School now has several awards available for those pupils who want to plan and organise their own trips, which can be physically challenging or intellectually stimulating; the choice is entirely that of the pupils.
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