Walkers pay tribute to helpful students

It's not often these days that you see a teenager give up their seat on a bus for an old lady. But one group of young people went as far as to give up their beds to two pensioners in distress.

It's not often these days that you see a teenager give up their seat on a bus for an old lady. But one group of young people went as far as to give up their beds to two pensioners in distress.

The Bungay High School students disproved all the clichés about young people when they helped the two soaked and freezing hill walkers during a school trip in the Lake District. They gave up their beds, cooked them dinner and breakfast, made them cups of tea, mended mobile phones, and gave them a lift the next morning.

Their actions secured the gratitude of Anne and Len Hillier, who have now written to the school to thank the students, and sent them a donation towards their next school trip.

Mrs Hillier, who is in her late 60s and lives in Winchester, said: “We were aiming to get across to Borrowdale, which was perhaps a foolish idea at that time of year, but the weather got so bad we had to turn back. It was pouring with rain, the visibility was bad, winds were gusting at about 70mph. It was very hairy. The youth hostel we were aiming for was closed and we came across this field centre.

“Without hesitation three of them gave up their room for us, they shared their supper and breakfast with us, made us cups of tea, dried out the mobile phones and acted with great generosity. We were treated like royalty really. It was wonderful to see. We were very struck by how pleasant they were.

“I shouldn't sound surprised but in this day and age you are a bit.”

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The Hillers' letter, which is now up on the school noticeboard, says the students were “without exception delightful company” and pays tribute to their “great generosity, thoughtfulness and good humour.”

Teachers Mark and Ralda Attenburrow also bandaged Mr Hillier's hand, which was badly cut after he slipped on a wet rock, while 15-year-olds Yazmin Sagin, Natasha Judd, Scott Mulley and Simon Flint cooked shepherd's pie for the group and their unexpected guests.

The group of 15 teenagers were on the five-day team-building trip a fortnight ago as part of an enterprise skills course. They were staying at the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre in Ennerdale, two miles from the nearest road, and the Hilliers would have had to walk for another 90 minutes to find somewhere else to stay.

Sixth-former David Runniff, 19, who helped to organised the trip, said: “They were trying to climb up over a pass but the weather came in so badly that they had to turn back. Everyone was really polite to them and if anything did come out they apologised.

“It was a good experience for them to see how easy it is to get stranded, not just kids, but anyone.”

Matt Bates, 15, said: “For the first half hour we didn't really know how to act around them but after that we were just ourselves.”

Matt Flint, 17, said: “We didn't really change the way we acted because those guys were there. We are pleased that the way we acted looked good and made the school look good.”

Headteacher Sean O'Neill said: “I am just really proud of them and what they have managed to achieve. To receive that sort of accolade is tremendous both for their parents and the school. Given that youngsters often get a bad press this literally shows you what youngsters can and do achieve on a daily basis.”