It’s an encouraging sign for the future when teachers take lessons from their pupils.
That’s the situation at Papdale Primary School, where head teacher Wendy Bowen is gearing up to climb Ben Nevis – fundraising for cancer research every step of the way.
Mrs Bowen will make the climb in October.
While she was inspired by the loss of a good friend, she is also following in the footsteps of two of her bairns, who raised more than £3,000 for charities this year.
In honour of a friend with ‘infinite patience’ and an ‘ability to inspire’
Mrs Bowen’s close friend died of pancreatic cancer only a few weeks ago. Mrs Bowen said that her friend’s battle encouraged her to take up her own fight.
“She was quite a special person. She had infinite patience and an ability to inspire children through her love of drama and English.
“And she was brilliant at being able to counsel children who were struggling with their mental health.”
Mrs Bowen is fundraising for the Pancreatic Cancer Action charity. She said her friend was always keen to support cancer research.
“One of the things she was keen on was to take on trials, and she was very much wanting to find an answer to this terrible disease.
“I thought the only thing I can do is raise money for research.”
She is already well on her way to her £1,345 goal – one pound per metre.
Wendy’s Wander: Teacher not going it alone on Ben Nevis
Mrs Bowen has been in touch with a local guide who will accompany her up the mountain. Ben Nevis isn’t for first-timers: It stands at 1,345 metres and is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom.
No stopping for tea, no stopping for dog biscuits!”
She may have dubbed her fundraiser Wendy’s Wander, but she knows this won’t be a walk in the park. To prepare, she and her canine training partner have picked up the pace on their daily constitutional.
“I’ve been going on these walks and no stopping for tea, no stopping for dog biscuits! We’ve been walking a lot faster just to try to get our stamina up.”
Unfortunately, Wendy thinks Ben Nevis is a bit much for her 11-year-old pup.
“She’ll cheer me on from below.”
In the footsteps of fundraising phenoms
She’ll also have the emotional support of her schoolchildren, including P7 Sarah Seatter and S1 Murray Budge, who both set the bar high for fundraising this year.
Sarah walked 100 miles during the summer holidays to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.
She also donated 16 inches of hair to the Little Princess Trust, which make wigs for children who have lost their hair to cancer.
Sarah blew past her initial goal of 500 and raised more than £2,000 – enough for almost four wigs.
Sarah said: “I’m so chuffed that we have managed to raise far more money than we had hoped at the beginning. I’m glad that we did the walks as it meant we could explore lots of Orkney we hadn’t been to before which was good fun.”
Meanwhile, Murray logged 129 miles and rustled up £1,825 for the local Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
‘We need to beat this disease’
Pancreatic Cancer Action raises money for research to increase the chances of early diagnoses. Every day, 26 people die from pancreatic cancer, but researchers say an early diagnosis significantly boosts survival rates.
Mrs Bowen hopes to see her community continue to rally in memory of her friend and everyone else touched by the disease.
“Together we can do our bit and fight cancer. We fight so that others don’t have to die.”
You can still donate to Wendy’s Wander and help raise money for cancer research.