Students ready for South Africa trip

South Africa 2015 (2)Seven adventurous students leave Blyth next week for a chance of a lifetime to work with children in one of the poorest communities in South Africa.

The teenagers from Bede Academy will spend two weeks at the Nokuphila nursery school, in Tembisa, north east of Johannesburg, where every child is either affected by or infected with HIV.

The Bede students – Catrina Dickson, Oliver Baron, Amber Witson, Krysta Hudspith, Caitlyn Rae, Emma James and Kim McVey – will teach the children songs, games and sport, supporting teachers at the school which is run by the Love Trust Christian charity.

The trip will strengthen ties between the charity and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, of which  Bede Academy is part. Its sister school, Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, has already raised £35,000 towards the setting up of a primary school to extend the children’s education beyond the age of six, which it is hoped will be a catalyst for a chain of similar schools across South Africa.

Caitlyn, 16, said:

“I wanted to volunteer because I never thought I’d get the chance to do something like this again.”

Catrina, 17, added:

“It’s a new experience that will really take us out of comfort zone, which I’m nervous but also excited about.”

Oliver, 16, explained that as the South African children do not speak English, the students will communicate through a Zulu interpreter.

“I don’t know 100 per cent what to expect, but I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.

The challenge for the students began months ago when they embarked on a fundraising campaign towards the £14,000 target needed for the trip.

They have taken part in a sponsored 300-mile marathon in the academy fitness suite, a bake sale and a host of individual fundraising, for example, musician Oliver playing his saxophone to a local luncheon club.

The final activity before they leave is a sponsored walk on July 7, but the students will have to continue with their fundraising to reach the final total in when they get back from South Africa.

Vice principal at Bede Academy Steve Nelson, who will accompany the students along with teachers James Leverton and his wife Emma Leverton, said:

“The trip is an opportunity to strengthen our links with Nokuphila School and to serve the children and staff there in any way we can.

“It will be an eye-opening experience for our students. They will take a huge amount from it, learning a lot about themselves and developing their character and skills for service, as well as providing valuable help to the school.”

The students will also get a chance to experience South Africa on a three-day safari at the beginning of their trip.




Tall Ships

Tall Ships 2015 (3)Students sailed into Blyth in spectacular style and fine voice after a ten-day voyage on a tall ship.

The young people from Bede Academy, in Blyth, and Emmanuel College, Gateshead, waved from 20m up on the course and lower top sail yards as they returned home to family members waiting on shore.

The voyage is an annual expedition by the Emmanuel Schools Foundation with the Tall Ships Youth Trust and offers students the chance of a lifetime to be a crew member aboard Stavros S Niarchos.

Tall Ships 2015 (2)The 22 students set sail from Southampton, calling at Boulogne, in France, for an afternoon on the beach before heading north up the east coast of England.

One of those waiting at the Port of Blyth was Kate Arthur, 16, whose sister Fiona, 14, was on board.

Kate, who goes to Bede Academy, said:

“I did the tall ship expedition two years ago and I told Fiona how good it was. We didn’t hear from her for the first few days then got a text to say she was tired but enjoying it.”

Once the ship was berthed and the gangplank lowered, Fiona was allowed ashore.

“It was brilliant. I’m really glad I did it,” she said.

The voyage was the seventh for Emmanuel teacher James Ward, who filmed the arrival into Blyth from 35m up on the t’gallant.

He said:

“It’s been another amazing trip. During the first few days we had calm seas and good sailing winds but we had to leave Boulogne in a hurry because of bad weather coming in.”

Emmanuel biology teacher and first time tall ship sailor Jessica Teasdale added:

“It’s a challenge for the students and it’s great to see them all gaining in confidence as the voyage progresses. They get a huge amount from an experience like this.”

Liam Lawrence, 14, of Winlaton Mill, got the chance to steer the ship into Blyth.

“It was the best bit of the journey for me. One of the hardest things was being on look-out when you know that hitting a small vessel, lobster pots or debris could be a disaster. The trip was the best experience of my life.”

Andrew Chapman, 14, from Blyth, added:

“It’s been brilliant. I got right to the top of the main mast. I was a bit scared but it was worth it.”

Y7 girl beats Y10 boys’ high jump record in school sports

Sports Day 2015 (4)YOUNG athlete Ellie Morris finished sports day on a high after jumping into the record books.

The Year 7 student at Bede Academy, Blyth, not only broke the girls’ record in the high jump but her height of 1.41m was the best female performance across the school and even bettered the Year 10 boys’ record.

The 12-year-old’s success didn’t end there. The all-round athlete also took the honours in the 80m hurdles with a new school record and personal best of 12.4 seconds.

“I have had a great day and was delighted with my running and jumping,” said Ellie, who is a member of Blyth Running Club.

Her record-breaking efforts were replicated across the board with previous bests tumbling on the track and in the field in a fiercely contested annual sports day staged at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.

Even a broken leg sustained in a friendly football match wasn’t going to stop Jordan Knight taking part. He was placed second in the javelin despite competing with a cast on his leg.

“I have won some javelin competitions this year but the cast meant I could only manage second,” said Jordan, who plays centre midfield for Blyth Town and centre for the academy’s rugby team.

“The cast has to stay on six weeks which coincides with the start of the new season so I am just hoping I am fit.”

Sports Day 2015 (2)Year 12 shot putter Martyn Quinn stole the competition with a record breaking throw of 9.45m while on the track Blyth Running Club runner Anya Christopher equalled the 800m record with a time of 2.52min.

Morpeth AC Harrier and Year 9 student Taylor Glover, 14, strolled home in the 800m winning by 80m, while Year 12 800m runner James Young, 17, won by 100m to take the academy record with a time of 2.05min.

Oswald house took the overall honours.

Director of sport Simon McAree said:

“We had a stunning day of sport with a host of records being broken. Ellie’s performance was incredibly impressive and I am sure she has a very bright future ahead of her in athletics.

“Sports day is always a highlight of the school calendar with students and staff enjoying the spirit of competitiveness in a great setting.”