Two Year 13 intrepid explorers, George and Henry, hiked the West Highland Way this summer after having being awarded a grant from the Mark Evison Fund.
The Mark Evison Fund supports students looking to undertake a challenging physical task and was established in memory of OC Mark Evison, after he died serving in Afghanistan. The Foundation was set up in his memory, with his values and characters being the driving force within it. Many pupils take part in the challenge across the UK in a number of schools, and are inspired by Mark’s story.
Margaret, Mark Evison’s mother, decides which pupils will be awarded the £500, after they have submitted their application outlining thorough details of their plans, explaining how and why they will undertake the particular challenge they have set themselves.
‘All of the planning for the project is independent and we receive feedback from Margaret on what we have submitted,’ explains Henry.
‘The idea of the Fund is to encourage young people to do things they wouldn’t normally do and to challenge and push themselves. I haven’t done DofE so this seemed like a good challenge to set myself,’ added George.
Completely by chance, on the second day of their seven-day hike, the two pupils met Colonel TG Vallings, who had served in Helmand with Mark and had attended the airfield service in Bastion prior to his repatriation to the UK.
Colonel Vallings met George and Henry several times during the 98-mile route from Glasgow to Fort William whilst he was trekking with his family. ‘I was impressed with both George and Henry who were both intelligent, charming, well organised, resilient and very robust carrying all of their camping equipment in challenging conditions on arduous terrain. Mark would have been very proud of their achievement and the spirit in which they conducted their trek. Please pass on my congratulations to them both. Their expedition was a most appropriate use of the Mark Evison Fund,’ commented Colonel Vallings.
‘I would definitely recommend doing a challenge like this to other pupils. I could have gone to Scotland on my own but I don’t think I could have done it without going through Foundation at Charterhouse. After we learnt about the Evison Fund I spoke to Henry and thought that we should make the most of the opportunity. If others don’t want to do a walk they could do something else but it is a worthwhile opportunity for young people to do,’ encouraged George.
‘The wild camping was a big thing for us and Scotland was great for that,’ added Henry. ‘I think the challenge did change us. It made us realise how important the mental side of physical challenges are. If we were to do something like this again in the future we would feel more prepared with what to expect after having learned so many things during our trip.’
Did the meeting with Colonel Vallings make George and Henry consider a career in the Army?
‘I still do CCF at Charterhouse and Colonel Vallings has planted the idea in my mind that the Army may be something I consider as you learn good life skills but I think I will still go to University first and study History.’ Henry concluded.
‘I did CCF at Charterhouse and I understand the dedication needed to join the Army but I don’t think it is a career for me.’ added George.
Whilst George and Henry don’t have any more challenges pencilled in just yet due to being focused on their exams in the coming months, they are keen to return to the outdoors and give wild camping another go.
‘Maybe we will climb Ben Nevis next time but on a shorter trip, as we would have liked to have done that,’ explained George.
We wish George and Henry the best of luck with their future adventurous endeavours.