A YEAR’S preparation saw two nine-year-olds from Chichester climb one of the tallest peaks of the Lake District.
Gracie Roberts, nine, and Isabelle Budd, nine, from Boxgrove Primary School, had been determined to raise money for Water Aid, and braved temperatures of -11ºc to climb the Skiddaw mountain, near Keswick.
Gracie’s stepmum Linda said: “Gracie and Izzy have been talking about it for about a year, wanting to raise money for Water Aid.
“Gracie was adamant it was Skiddaw they would go to climb.”
She added her stepdaughter had wanted it to be a ‘big adventure’.
She said they were inspired to do something challenging to raise money, and have raised around £200 in sponsorship from family, friends and the school. Head teacher at Boxgrove Primary School Kim Thornton said she was very proud of the independence they had shown.
“I was really impressed when they told me all about it,” she said. “As a school community we supported them.
“It was a lovely thing for them to do.”
She added it was ‘nice to see them flourish’, because they had taken to heart the school’s ethos of helping and respect for others.
The girls were accompanied in their climb, during the February half-term, by Linda and Gracie’s dad Jules.
International World Water Day was this week, on March 22.
Water Aid’s main goal is to provide safe, clean water to those to whom it is not readily available, in order to help prevent disease, save time, empower women and keep children in school.
Linda described Water Aid as Gracie’s ‘favourite’ charity and her stepdaughter was very keen she and her best friend Isabelle should climb the mountain.
Gracie first climbed Skiddaw when she was five years old, and Isabelle had no previous experience of mountain climbing.
Linda said: “They had been talking about it and planning it for a year beforehand – we wouldn’t have suggested it to them, but they were adamant.”
There is still a collection pot available at the school.
While they took part in the climb, they were staying in the Keswick Youth Hostel.
Gracie has had a birthday since the climb, and was only eight years old at the time.