Ms Cartlidge and the Strive Challenge

At the end of last term, the BDA community immersed itself in the Strive Challenge, a fundraising initiative launched by Richard Branson's son Sam and his cousin Noah Devereux. The pair visited the school in July and delivered an assembly alongside performance poet Karl Lokko, a former Brixton gang leader.

At the heart of the school's role in the campaign was Head of Geography Ms Cartlidge, who was invited to join the Core Strive Team on the final leg of their epic journey. Always up for a challenge, she hiked an unbelievable 180km from London to the summit of the Matterhorn - a mountain in the Pennine Alps, on the border between Italy and Switzerland. The journey typically takes nine days, but the group completed the route in just seven.

Ms Cartlidge said: “It was a gruelling and at times very dangerous, avoiding falling boulders, spending whole days freezing in the non-stop rain and trying to keep walking when my heels were horribly blistered and bleeding. This is what striving is all about - pushing both your body and your mind to the limit to achieve something worthwhile.

"It helped knowing that so many people at home were being so generous and sponsoring me to help raise money for such an important cause. I have raised over £1300 so far but more sponsorship is definitely welcome.”

Sam, Noah and Karl have expressed interest in returning to the academy to share stories of their life-changing experience. We are extremely proud of Ms Cartlidge’s efforts and are so pleased to welcome her back from such an inspiring journey.