Conquering one’s own personal Everest – mountaineer turned author visits Clayesmore


Mrs Heather Bignold, the Prep Librarian and Head of PSHE, writes about the visit to Clayesmore Prep by Matt Dickinson, author, mountaineer and film maker, on Thursday:

We began the day with a whole school assembly where Matt talked about his climbing, nearly losing two fingers, and the importance of always having your yeti-poking stick while in Nepal, especially if you are eating baked beans! He ended the talk by asking the pupils to think about what their own personal ‘Everest’ might be – quite thought provoking.  The pupils responded brilliantly, not only answering  his questions but asking some curious questions, too.
In a geography-based talk to our Year 6 pupils, Matt used his experience of mountains and climbing, leading a highly interactive, fascinating session touching on volcanoes, tectonic plates, living at altitude on Everest, and climate change.
In the afternoon, Matt joined our senior reading group, The Reading Crew, to discuss The Everest Files, and all aspects of his writing and professional life. 
We wound up the day with a creative writing session with the Year 8 pupils. Matt set them four writing challenges: what would they miss most on Everest, a persuasive piece either for or against an eleven year-old boy climbing Everest; some dialogue set near the summit, and finally a descriptive piece about being incredibly cold. 
In between times, Matt signed books and chatted to our pupils about different aspects of his work. The whole school really enjoyed the day. Matt’s climbing knowledge and his personal experiences of the North face of Everest in 1996 made him a truly inspirational visitor and one, who I am sure, we will be inviting back.