Bede players selected for ‘Lions’ squad

RUGBY Lions are aiming to be the pride of their academies after joining forces for an annual sports tour.

ESF Lions Tour (3)Sporting students from Bede Academy, in Blyth, have teamed up with players from their sister schools in the Emmanuel Schools Founadtion – The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, Emmanuel College, Gateshead, and Trinity Academy, Thorne – to form an elite Lions squad for a week-long match tour of Scotland.

The squad will compete against three teams during their stay starting with an opening game against Boroughmuir Rugby Club, then on to The High School of Glasgow before completing the tour with a match against North Berwick High School.

ESF Lions Tour (2)Bede Academy has selected five of their players for the 25-man squad including Jay Robinson, 16, Jack Fennell, 15, Richard Harland, 15, Adam Simmons, 15 and Matthew Smith, 15.

Teacher Andrew Sutherland, who is accompanying the boys on tour, said:

“Bede Academy’s representation on the Lions team continues to grow each year.

“We have a couple of players who, alongside representing the academy, also play at county level which gives us a strong foundation going into our games.

“All the boys chosen for the team have come through a rigorous selection process, via our inter school’s ‘Olympics’ trials, and all are extremely competitive and looking to make their mark on the tour.”

As well as playing their own matches, students will be given a tour of Murrayfield Stadium, scale the heights at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena and sightsee around the Scottish capital.

Student Jack Fennell, 15, who plays centre midfield for Blyth Town Football Club, said:

“As well as football I’ve been playing rugby since Year 6. Getting into the Lions squad is very competitive and a real achievement.

“It’s good to be able to meet other students from different schools and I think we have a strong team that can do really well.”

Adam Simmons, 15, who plays for Blyth Spartans Rugby Club, added:

“I love playing rugby so it was important for me to try out for the Lions team.

“As well as playing in the games I’m looking forward to getting to know the other players and in our free time doing some climbing at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.”

Primary Harvest Festival

PRIMARY school children have been bringing in the harvest to help feed the region’s hungry.

Year 1 and 2 students from Bede Academy, in Blyth, celebrated their efforts with a special assembly for friends and family.

A packed school hall enjoyed a variety of readings and songs including Plough the Fields and Scatter, The Parable of the Sower and the Big Red Combine Harvester.

The donations of food were handed over to The Storehouse Foodbank, Tyneside Vineyard Church, to help families currently struggling to make ends meet.

Head teacher Irene Watson praised the children for their singing voices and performances, and thanked parents for their support of the annual Harvest giving.

She said: “The produce is going to the food bank to help people who need a little help. Anyone one of us here could suddenly fall upon hard times and need such support.

“We asked parents who they would like to help and they agreed that it should be a local charity rather than something overseas. All the food will be collected from the school and some of the children will help load it into the car and may have the opportunity to see it in the storehouse. This way it is more real and easier to understand for the children.”

Bede students reflect on time in Zambia

Zambia Follow-up (2)THE stark image of villagers affected by diseases that could easily be cured has left sixth formers humbled but inspired after a life-changing trip to Africa.

Students from Bede Academy, Blyth, have been delivering special assemblies to classmates on the plight of people in Zambia who face poverty and disease on a daily basis. They also plan to present their experiences to the local branch of Rotary.

But it was the plight of villagers whose lives were ravaged by diseases easily treated in this country that surprised the students most.

“One man spent his life sitting under a tree – that was his life,” said Bethany Henderson. “He only had stomach ulcers but over there that was enough to stop him eating, which meant he had no energy to work.

“There was another person who had suffered a stroke. My sister works in stroke rehabilitation and I know that if it was this country the person would get back to normal.”

Zambia Follow-up (4)Teachers Emma Leverton and James Leverton led the party, comprising Michael Germany, Bethany Henderson, Abbie Barclay, Joseph Woods, Chelsea Hilbert and Jamie Maughan on a two-week summer expedition to Zambia.

They joined students from their sister schools in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation –  Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Trinity Academy, Thorne, and The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough – on the epic trip to Miloso.

While there the students soaked up the local culture, sampled basic African cuisine, worked in home-based care for the elderly, taught orphans at Donata special school, which looks after 50 children with a variety of disabilities, and got involved in building projects.

They also experienced life in the bush on an expedition to Mount Mumpu, the highest freestanding peak in the country, sleeping out under the stars with only mosquito nets for cover and deadly poisonous black mamba snakes and scorpions for company.

Zambia Follow-up (3)Jamie said:

“It was life-changing. The people gave us so much even though they had so little. It was awesome to see them sprinting after us. Some followed us to the next village.”



Michael said:

“I used to live in Zambia and it hasn’t changed at all; everyone was as friendly as ever. But it did feel different this time as I was with friends and I could see how it was affecting them. We all do feel we have changed as people.”

They said climbing Mount Mumpu was a true test of their stamina and friendship and reinforced bonds in the group.

Mrs Leverton said:

“The trip was very demanding emotionally and physically and has helped us all appreciate our lives.

“I was so proud of the students; how quickly they bonded with other ESF students, adapted to the conditions and mixed with local people.”