On the evening of 16th January, we were treated to a very special visit from renowned adventurer and speaker, Tori James, who recounted in awe-striking detail, her fascinating experience of ascending Mount Everest ten years ago.

Tori has family connections with St Mary's Calne, with her cousin Kate Mathias leaving St Mary's in 1984 and her two aunts, Anne Mathias (nee Davies) and Jane Pike (nee Davies), also attending the school.

Speaking primarily to a group of teenage girls, who would probably consider spending the night in a tent for Bronze DoFE, ‘roughing it’, Tori managed to utterly shock our audience with endless accounts and photos of the gruesome injuries and setbacks that she and her teammates had suffered on their journey. For most people, this would be a sufficient reason to give up and go home, but Tori’s persistence to become the first-ever Welsh woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, was truly inspiring.

Although I cannot say that any of the St Mary’s girls will be making the same climb any time soon, I can say that most of us came away feeling more motivated to challenge ourselves in the future, whether that be in the classroom, on the hockey pitch, or climbing a mountain in the Himalayas.

Emily (LVI)