Last month the School was delighted to welcome Everest summiteer, filmmaker, broadcaster and teen fiction author Matt Dickinson to talk and present to our pupils from years 6 to 13.

The first session provided a fascinating insight into Matt’s ascent up the north face of Everest, enduring some of the worst weather conditions ever recorded. We learned about the western Everest tourists’ dependence upon Sherpas to guide and carry the significant amounts of equipment; often up to 100Kg each, and how they are required to make multiple excursions carrying supplies for every summiteer team’s trip. The pupils also heard poignant first-hand accounts of over 200 landmark bodies of dead climbers that line the route as well as, more cheerfully, the mountain’s very own “money man”, whose rucksack is filled with cash and exploding Toffee Crisps, from whom climbers make their purchases during their climb!

Wearing his author’s hat, Matt then led a stimulating workshop analysing the process of writing adventure fiction. He illustrated how it was possible to generate believable dialogue by placing imaginary protagonists and antagonists in both physically and psychologically challenging situations.  By the time Matt had finished, we all had a blueprint to create an adventure bestseller, so watch this space…

Matt’s last session was with our Academic Scholars as part of their schedule of bespoke enrichment experiences. Here, he talked about his own personal journey from a school boy with an interest in climbing to the successful film maker he is today. He revealed that adopting an entrepreneurial approach towards his creative career has helped him enormously, and stressed that it was possessing a sense of unwavering self-motivation which had pulled him through physically gruelling situations. Our take home message was “Every metre up is one less metre to climb”.

I think that it is safe to say that all attendees at Matt’s sessions thoroughly enjoyed them and were inspired to go the extra mile in their future endeavours – I’m now seriously considering being the first librarian to make the Everest ascent (there haven’t been any, I checked with Matt!).

Responses from those that attended Matt’s sessions included:

“I would love him to come again” Elliott Y7

“Matt was very inspirational, he made me have huge dreams!” Niamh, Y8

“It made me think about going out of my comfort zone and trying new things” Joshua Y9

“He was interesting, informative and very funny.” Emily Y7

“All in all, it was amazing, and so was his book.” Logan Y8

“..he taught me that nothing was impossible.” Mimi Y7

“I thought the visit from Matt Dickinson was very interesting as he explained how rough it was out in the Himalayas.” Ben Y9

“He was a compelling storyteller” Felix Y8

“I thought the experience was great because he was leading us through all of his easy times and hard times.” Ellie Y7

Sarah Bersey, Assistant Librarian