One hundred years ago, on the 23rd of September 1921, George Herbert Leigh-Mallory (College, 1900-05) finished his expedition from Mumbai to the North Col of Mount Everest - closer to the mountain’s summit than any man had ever gone before. The journey took him and his team 2,500 km across the Tibetan countryside, as they approached the summit from its Northern (Chinese) side.
On the 24th of September 2021, the first day of Exeat, 450 Winchester pupils and OWs will attempt to collectively replicate his feat, 5000 miles from where George Mallory made his original journey (in decisively more hospitable conditions), aiming to run 2,500km en masse in the space of just a couple of hours. All have been encouraged to run and raise much needed funds for the Lotus Flower Trust. Distances range from just 1km to 20km routes, presenting a test of bravery and determination, and a fitting tribute to the courage of George Mallory as he embarked on his expedition.
Perhaps even more impressive is the determination of John Hunt, the 80-year-old CEO of Lotus Flower Trust, which has a long-standing relationship with Winchester College through which over £300,000 has been raised in recent years. He will complete his climb of the height of Everest (8848m) on his stepper at home in time for the 24th of September. Having survived a heart attack in 2020, he is disappointed not to be able to climb the real Mount Everest; “I know it’s a cheat to climb Everest in any way but the proper way, but following the path set by Captain Tom who set for us all such a fine example, I feel the effort to be well worthwhile.”
At Winchester, the challenge has been organised by a close team of boys, with weekly meetings to bring all the aspects of the event together. Environmental sustainability was a serious consideration, to truly support the efforts made by the Lotus Flower Trust in India, so no disposable cups or cutlery will be used at the cake sale after the event and the pupils have devised a system for providing water for runners without using plastic bottles. Meanwhile, the school’s Sustainable Fashion Society has designed event shirts for all runners, which are made from 50% post-consumer recycled cotton and 50% BCI certified organic cotton.
All money raised will go to initiatives in India, the starting point of Mallory’s journey. Rural India has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 and needs help more than ever. Children and young adults, the same age of our runners, are in desperate need of help. Since we cannot currently send pupils out to India to help the charity, as we have done nearly every year for the past ten years, this is a run of solidarity and support .
The funds will support three initiatives:
6th October 2022
Local primary school children are invited to enter our wildlife poetry competition and attend a special lecture by renowned ornithologist Roger Morgan-Grenville.
20th September 2022
The whole school is aiming to run and walk a total of 4,000km on the morning of Friday 23 September to raise money for a water pump at Basgo Nunnery Orphanage in rural India.
6th September 2022
A team of pupils, jointly committed to their ideas behind their Investor Soc project, spent the summer putting their plans into action by supporting Impact Schools and teaching online.
16th June 2022
The Charities Committee is aiming to raise £8000 to fund an ambulance for Ukraine, with a sponsored cycle event on Wykeham Day.
14th June 2022
Pupils working towards their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards have just returned from challenging expeditions to the Peak District and the Lake District. Their volunteering work for the scheme has also been recognised by the Award body.
26th May 2022
Dr John Cullerne was invited to Buckingham Palace on 25 May in recognition of his pioneering work on Covid.