THESE youngsters were meant to scale the height of the world’s tallest mountain in just 24 hours as a loving tribute to one of their former leaders.
But over the weekend the determined children from the 4th Littlehampton Scouts group smashed all expectations, scaling not only the 29,000ft of Mount Everest, using their new indoor climbing wall, but by reaching the dizzying heights of a commercial jet – about 35,000ft to be precise.
The challenge took place at the Scouts’ base, in Linden Hall, East Ham Road, on Saturday, and finished Sunday (May 11) afternoon.
It was in loving memory of Viv Turner, the group’s long-standing president, who died last year.
Martin Funnell, 4th Littlehampton Scout leader, said the event was an extremely emotional one for all involved.
“Viv was a great figure and was loved by so many,” he said. “So everyone was very emotional on the day.”
The 12-metre high wall was officially opened by Littlehampton mayor Joyce Bowyer.
It is affectionately named Badger’s Challenge, in memory of Viv, whose Scout name was Badger.
The 60-strong band of children, aged six to 16, were tasked with scaling the wall as many times as possible.
Martin added that the young climbers pushed themselves to the limit, managing to reach the peak of ‘Everest’ in just over 12 hours.
“I have never witnessed the kids of the group being so enthusiastic and determined to achieve something,” Martin said. “They just didn’t want to stop.
“It was incredible to watch. I was so, so proud of them all.”
A core of 24 Scouts managed to complete the full 24-hour challenge.
Wheelchair-bound teenager Georgie Purcell, 15, was the last person to scale the wall.
The disabled youngster was determined to ring one of the bells at the top of the wall.
She was secured in a harness and pulled up, eventually ringing the bell to close the marathon event.
“It was a great way to finish the climb,” Martin added.
The wall took two years to build and was completed six months ago.
It is now available for youth groups to use.
To book the climbing wall, see www.4thlittlehampton scout.com