Devizes teens aim to cycle the Alps

This Is Wiltshire: Pupils and staff from Downlands School in Devizes are taking part in  a national bike challenge riding through the Alps. From left are staff member Mike Rees-Lee, pupils Bailey Spall and Marley North and staff member Tommy Callinan Pupils and staff from Downlands School in Devizes are taking part in a national bike challenge riding through the Alps. From left are staff member Mike Rees-Lee, pupils Bailey Spall and Marley North and staff member Tommy Callinan

As the Tour de France reaches its climax, two teenage boys from Downlands School in Devizes are taking on their own cycling challenge in The Alps.

Bailey Spall, 13, and Marley North, 15, will join pupils from other schools that specialise in helping youngsters with emotional and behavioural problems on the trip of a lifetime.

They will cycle around Mont Blanc on a week trip that will test them to their limits as part of the Fastest Classroom on Earth project, organised by Springfields Academy in Calne. It uses unusual trips and challenges to bring the best out of youngsters and develop their leadership skills.

But before they can go, the pupils and their teachers need to raise another £2,500 to make the trip possible.

Downlands assistant headteacher Mike Rees-Lee, who will accompany them, said: “It is going to be an extremely difficult ride for all of us. We will be covering about 300kms and some of it will be very hilly, but I am sure it will be something that will change their lives forever.

“We have noticed that just by qualifying to go on the ride their behaviour has improved tremendously and they are becoming more confident.”

Bailey said: “To get to this stage we both had to work really hard. We took part in a team-building exercise and cycling weekend, which we both succeeded in getting though to the final 18 from 1,000 applicants.

“We are now in the final stage but need to raise enough money.”

The ride will take place at the end of September and a number of fundraising events are planned by the school.

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