Namibia trip for children

Shirebrook Academy pupil Alex Sunderland, 15, gets her bearings during a map-reading exercise during a training weekend in readiness for a two-week adventure in Namibia this summer.
Shirebrook Academy pupil Alex Sunderland, 15, gets her bearings during a map-reading exercise during a training weekend in readiness for a two-week adventure in Namibia this summer.
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Pupils who are preparing to live in Namibia this summer have been learning what to do if they come face-to-face with a lion or an elephant.

Five pupils from Shirebrook Academy and five from neighbouring Stubbin Wood School were given the potentially life-saving guidance during a two-day course.

All ten have been chosen to fly to Namibia in southern Africa in July to spend a week delivering first aid training and giving sessions on British life and culture at a residential school in the Anixab community, a remote settlement on the Ugab River, some 200 miles from the country’s capital Windhoek.

They will then spend a week learning map reading and navigation skills during a trek through the desert – before being left to their own devices for the last stretch of their walk.

James Edwards, head of modern foreign languages at Shirebrook Academy in Common Lane, will accompany the pupils to Namibia.

He said: “The course was a tremendous success and it made the whole experience a lot more real – although there was some nervousness when we were told what to do if faced by wild animals.

“Apparently the best thing to do when you are faced with an elephant is to keep quiet and you should make a lot of noise if you come across a lion.”

The students had to raise thousands of pounds to fund their trip with the Shirebrook Academy pupils Devon Evans, 14, Alex Sunderland, 15, Lorna Sykes, 14, Megan Humphries, 14, and Katy Peake, also 14, within touching distance of collecting the £10,000 needed to send them on their way.

Katy said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the mammals as I think it will be life-changing.”

Devon added: “The course was amazing.

“I enjoyed every second of it and I learned new things and new skills. The whole thing made me realise how much of a determined girl I am.

“I bonded with people I didn’t think I would and had a really good time.

The trip has been organised in partnership with Bolsover District Council and the NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group.

The scheme is being led by British Exploring Society, which organised the survival training.