Award Winners 2012
• Major Award winner Mollie Hughes climbed Mt Everest in May 2012.
Here is her account of it:
'On the 19th of May 2012 at 8 am I stood at the highest point on earth. In doing so I became one of the youngest British Women to summit Mount Everest at the age of 21. It had taken months and months of training, fundraising and sheer determination to even get to the base of the mountain; and climbing it was another level all together.
I first got in touch with the Mark Evison Foundation after my Mum heard Margaret Evison discussing her story on the radio. I completed an application for a major grant outlining my ambitions on Everest. I was then asked to come to London for an interview with the foundation. The interview went well and I was delighted when I heard I was being awarded a major grant for my expedition. My dreams of climbing Everest were finally coming to fruition, thanks to the foundation.
The challenge of climbing Mount Everest was enormous, it pushed my mind and body further than I could have ever imagined. We were living at basecamp for almost two months, acclimatising to the extreme high altitude. The final push to the summit took 6 gruelling days where my body had to cope with, altitude, exhaustion and dehydration. My mind had to deal with the constant threat of death, the uncertainty of what lay ahead and be able to maintain its focus and motivation as my body deteriorated. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest was a truly humbling experience, but we were still only half way through the climb. Statistically most people die when descending the mountain, largely due to exhaustion. I spent 1 1/2days descending Everest; this was the most challenging part of the climb, ignoring exhaustion to maintain focus and determination. Getting back to basecamp after an extremely challenging 7 days on the mountain was the real achievement.
Throughout this whole experience I have learnt so much about myself that easily align with the foundations objectives. I have experienced how to turn an idea into reality, no matter how big and unachievable it first seems. I have learnt how far I can push my mind and body to achieve an ambition; anything is possible if you apply yourself. I have gained courage on the mountain through the experience and control of fear, and have gained confidence through the successful completion of a goal. The Mark Evison Foundation has given me this opportunity. I whole heartedly believe they are an amazing charity, who can change young people’s lives by inspiring self-belief. So why not apply and see if they can bring out the best in you?'
• Poppy Ilderton, Josie Woodhams, Alice Baker, Amy Kunicki and Isabelle Brown won a Major Award to swim the English Channel in August 2012
'After a false start the weekend before, the five of us (Poppy Ilderton, Josie Woodhams, Amy Kunicki, Izzy Brown and Alice Baker) finally made it down to Dover Marina at midnight on Friday 31st of August. We loaded our numerous bags of extra clothing, bottled water and mountains of food onto our guide boat, The Sea Leopard and seemingly before we could take stock of what was happening, we were off!
Alice valiantly jumped into the sea and swam into Shakespeare Bay around 1.15am, equipped with light sticks and strategically placed Vaseline and our channel swim attempt had officially begun. The first few legs were in complete darkness which was a new experience to us all and very disorientating. Despite the strong start, our problems soon started to mount; namely some horrific sea-sickness. Four of the five of us were afflicted to varying degrees but it was safe to say that with all the kit we packed the one thing we forgot to bring was our sea legs. With at least two of the team leaning over the back of the boat vomiting for the majority of the journey, we were seriously having to consider the possibility of abandoning the swim.
Thankfully around 9am the worst of the sea sickness had passed. Although we’d been able to see the French coastline ever since dawn, it had not seemed to be getting much closer and our apparent lack of progress was rather disheartening. Luckily our pilots and observer reassured us that we were in fact making excellent headway and as Alice got in for her third swim we knew this could be the one to finish it for us. Alice managed to scramble onto a rock just 10 hours and 50 minutes since she had entered the water in Dover and it eventually dawned on us that we had completed our swim. We travelled back to England delirious with excitement and exhaustion.
We all overcame our own challenges not only throughout the swim but over the past 18 months and we are all so proud of what we have accomplished.'
The following awards were £500 school awards
• Charter Community School, East Dulwich
Cydnee Holder, Ore Olaniyan, Zaineb Shah, and Ruth Olatunji: ‘I got it from my Mama’, creating a fashion documentary on women’s clothes, August 2012.
• Charterhouse School Surrey
Jack Olsen ‘Le Chemin de La Liberte’, 5 day trek/climb through the Pyrenees leading 3 others, 6-10 August 2012.
'The walk itself, as I have said was very hard from start to finish and there was really no time to rest as we wanted to sleep soon after arriving at each camp-site. It was however one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life as every step of the way I was with some friends and I knew I was representing a fantastic and inspirational organisation. It truly did keep me going, and I'm sure it had a similar affect on the others. Without a doubt it brought out the best in me, and in the others, which, as the T-shirts made so clear, was the aim of the walk. We never gave up despite the pain, fatigue and heat which is something that we can draw strength from in every walk of life. To know that we have achieved something like this, whilst still being teenagers is something that we will never forget and something we can be immensely proud of. I feel confident in saying we are fairly unique in what we have done.
The real hardship came from, firstly the length of days 1 and 2. Under the sun, with pretty much no shelter left us pretty shattered by then end of these days. On day 2 the heat was so bad that by lunch we had no water left between any of us and we had to go to a caravan on the road to ask in our best French for some water. Thankfully the owner was in fact English and therefore it made it very easy for us. Given the way our previous day's speaking had gone this was a very lucky gift as we had found out that our "French student" was far from confident with the language.
When we looked in the guidebook for days 3 and 4 the relief we felt after seeing they were very short (3 being about 10km) was immense. This was short lived however as we then saw the height map for day 3 and realised it was essentially straight up, then down into a valley, and then straight back up the other side. This quickly turned into fear and over the second day all we could talk about was how bad day 3 would be. When we met our guides they promised us a very slow and relaxed pace for this day as one of the walkers had started to really suffer due to a ligament injury in his leg. I will just say this; the guide book recommended 7- 8 hours with 10 hours for the whole day with "very necessary rests". We finished the whole day in 6 and a half. Having said this, we did then get a swim in a mountain lake and then 3-4 hours to relax by this lake and recover from the torture of the previous day. Day 4 was no better as we immediately went straight down and lost all the height we had painfully climbed the day before. Then, inevitably a step ascent began again and before we knew it we were level with where we camped the day before. However, this was not yet enough; up into the snow we went. This was a welcome changed of terrain, however it did keep us on edge as none of us would have climbed back up the slope had we slipped, I don't think our legs could take it. At the summit, and the Spanish border I felt a huge sense of relief and at the same time was humbled by a plaque we saw on a rock. We had just achieved this walk with proper equipment in good weather, with the only time constraint of a flight home at the end of it. The route itself however was born from the French fleeing through the snow, at night, in city clothes escaping the Nazis, only to be arrested at the other end by a less than sympathetic Franco. But this view and sense of relief had to quickly be put to rest in my memory as we began a descent through a scorching Spanish valley. We had spent the whole walk cursing the up hills, yet the constant down was just as bad, if not worse, only with far fewer rests. However, we did know this time that at the bottom was not a field for our tent, but a car to a house for a shower and good nights sleep. When we reached here we were all so happy, proud, tired, inspired and relieved all at the same time.'
• Dulwich College Mark Evison Alleynian Challenge
Arnav Kapur and Zack Faja ‘The D-day Challenge, Walking 200 Km across France in the Footsteps of Heroes’ July 2012
• Heathland School, Hounslow
Najeeb Behbood, Mushtaq Ahmad Noorzai and Pakesh Shudar: ‘Project Swanage’, cycle from Hounslow to Dorset June 2012
• Pimlico Academy
Matilda Fleming, Saskia Dammers, John Gibson, Coco Cripps, Jessica Collins, Jason Appleby-Sherring, Wednesday Smith-Waddell and Fila Mason-Bradshaw: ‘the Tree house’, building a tree house in Devon, late August.
'When Margret came to our school, to talk about Mark Evison Foundation, my friends and I agreed this would be a great opportunity to do something together. By building a tree house we felt we could strengthen our practical and creative skills, by creating something that could be a landmark of our friendship and ability to rise to new challenges.
Having completed a rigorous examination process against two other groups in our school, we found out we had won £500 to build the treehouse. Then the hard work began. We found a place to build the treehouse in Devon and in April I travelled to the site to make sketches and take pictures of the chosen tree. However on returning to London, we ran into some complications and decided to build a platform instead. This done, we then ordered wood and other supplies.
Then on the 27th of August we set off for Devon in three cars. Arriving in torrential rain we set up camp, where we would live for the next eight days. Our first step was to erect a scaffold and then over the next seven days we carried wood up the hill, measured, sawed, and screwed together our platform. Apart from this we also cooked, cleaned, got soaked, dried and got soaked again. Two of us would walk to the closest shop (four miles away) each day and at night we would talk around the campfire.
This project has not only created many memoires we will hold dear (proving that women can be lumberjacks and staying up till sunrise on the last night), but also gave us the confidence that we can build something together. We all hope to visit the tree platform again soon, as it represents our hard work and friendship.'
Award Winners 2011
• A Major Award went to Lee Browning for new equipment to help him as he tries to win points in the hope of joining the England Canoe Slalom Squad.
• Charterhouse School
Samuel Jenkins and Jonathan Pacey to stage a debut concert in Guildford of a new group set up in April 2011, the Mousai singers.
• Charter Community School, East Dulwich
Niamh Davis, Roisin Mcaweany and Mimi Smith to write, produce and direct a play to perform at school.
• Dulwich College Alleynian Challenge
Alex Scott-Malden and Angus Johnston cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats.
• Mossbourne Community Academy, Hackney
Faruk Saliu, Brandon Onyagunga for a five-day cycling challenge in France.
Award Winners 2010
Our second award went to dBand: James Wood, Harry Moseley, Paul Raleigh and Anthony Buswell used the funds for a recording studio session. Their aim is to put the songs on iTunes – all proceeds to go to our Foundation. Watch them play on YouTube.
'After we received the generous award from the Mark Evison Foundation in June 2010, we were able to begin putting our plans into action. We started by getting together as a band and created a group of initial songs. We spent plenty of time developing these songs, discarding a few and changing some beyond recognition. We set ourselves the target of having three songs ready by October, so that we could book the recording studio for our winter half term.
Following the summer holidays we booked a recording slot at Garage Studios, a recording studio run by Martin Smith in East Grinstead. We spent three long days in the studio, managing to record three of our songs. These three days turned out to be a wonderful experience, having the chance to work with a fantastic music producer and experiencing the satisfaction of seeing the songs we had created become recorded tracks.
The Foundation gave us fantastic support and the opportunity to spend time in a recording studio. However, more than this the award has really motivated us to keep working hard at developing our band into the future taking it beyond a merely a pastime at school to becoming a longer-lasting project. Spending time in the studio represents a stage in our development and we plan to continue writing new songs in the future.' – James Wood
Luke Gbedemah and Tomos Davies, both 16 years of age, have successfully run the four highest peaks in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in four days, using only public transport. They took their dog Anvil, and made a film of their experience, which you can watch by clicking the link below.
Watch Luke and Tomos's video of their challenge here