Teachers tackle Three Peaks for charity

TEACHERS from Mangotsfield School are climbing three mountains in a day to help a charity that has supported a Downend teenager with cancer.

Thomas Humphries is 15, and is halfway through two years of intensive treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, after being diagnosed last summer.

During his treatment the Downend School pupil had to spend time in isolation. To help him stay in contact with his friends, charity Molly Ollys gave him a PlayStation 5, new handsets and FIFA game so he could play online with them.

His mum Shelley said: “Thomas is a crazy football fan and loves physically playing but his illness has meant that he is not able to do this.

“This has been so important in allowing him to reconnect with his friends and also gives him something to focus on when he is at home on his own.

“It has improved his mental health and allows him to feel that he is still part of his friends’ lives, even if he can’t be with them.”

Shelley is head of geography at Mangotsfield School and to say thank you to the charity, 16 members of staff are scaling the Welsh peaks of Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan.

The mountains are between 880m (2,887ft) and 1,080m (3,543ft) tall and 115 miles apart.

The challenge has been organised by Mangotsfield’s assistant head and PE teacher Gareth John, Shelley’s colleague of 14 years. 

He said the team was aiming to complete the challenge within 12 to 18 hours, with the weather and different fitness levels the main concerns.

But he said: “It will never be far from our minds why we are doing this. We are very aware of the challenging times that Shelley and the family have gone through.”

Shelley said Thomas’s diagnosis was “devastating” for her and husband Ben, but his cancer is the most treatable and he has been given a “99% chance of survival”.

She said: “For the school to do something like this is incredible. I think Molly Ollys is an amazing charity and we’ve already done loads of fundraising for it as a family.”

Warwickshire-based Molly Ollys was set up in 2011 by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw after their eight-year-old daughter Molly died from a rare kidney cancer.

It fulfils wishes, donates toys and books, and funds hospital consultants: it has so far raised more than £4 million and supported more than 16,000 children.

The Mangotsfield School team had raised more than £3,000 as the Voice went to print, ahead of their challenge on June 22.

People can donate via the Justgiving page at tinyurl.com/bdh53v9n.