St Mary’s History teacher, Shaun Naughten, is planning to trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, this summer to raise funds for St Mary’s and for an international aid charity.

Mr Naughten is in the final stages of preparation for his expedition in late July. His aim is to raise £2,000 to be split 30:70 between a St Mary’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bursary (to help purchase equipment available to students who would otherwise struggle to take part in the Award scheme) and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which provides medical help in war-torn and disaster-hit areas across the world, including Gaza.

This is not the first adventure Mr Naughten has undertaken in recent years: “I have completed various treks in Nepal, Asia and South America for fun, including to Everest Base Camp, Mount Kinebalu in Borneo and the Lost City trek in Colombia. This summer my trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro will take seven days from arrival in Tanzania; this means sleeping in a tent and going without showering for six of those seven days!”

The timing of his trip – to the peak of what is also the highest volcano in the Eastern Hemisphere – will take advantage of both the school summer holidays and the optimum time to do such an expedition, during the long dry season in Tanzania when there is little rainfall and lower humidity than at other times of the year. 

“I decided it would be a good idea to use this trek as a way to raise money for two important charities. Médecins Sans Frontières provide emergency medical assistance in some of the most dangerous places in the world, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

The Duke of Edinburgh team at St Mary’s would like to build up a bank of supplies such as tents, rucksacks and sleeping mats to make available for students participating in the programme. It would be brilliant to be able to assist any student who is interested in such a positive adventure, through which they develop skills that last them a lifetime. Between April 2023 and March 2024, 545,910 students participated in the D of E globally, and 15.2% of them were considered to be ‘experiencing poverty’. At St Mary’s we want to make the D of E accessible to all our students, despite the cost of living crisis. Any donations given will help us make that a reality.

I will be producing a video diary of my time in Tanzania, and I hope that our students will pick up a few useful tips for future D of E sessions! I also hope my summer challenge will inspire young people to enrol in D of E in October and try their own personal challenge.”

St Mary’s Headteacher, Richard Vaughan said, “I think what Shaun is doing is fantastic, and he has a wonderful challenge ahead of him. I really appreciate his support for our school’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme and wish him the best of luck for his trip. The St Mary’s community is incredibly proud of him, and he is a positive role model for our students, embracing and overcoming challenges in life. We look forward to hearing all about it when he returns.”

All donations are much appreciated, of any size. Please visit Shaun’s justgiving page: