Old Trafford Primary Academy receptionist takes on Everest

Melissa Hardwick reaches Everest Base Camp to plant pupil’s homemade flag
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Old Trafford Primary Academy receptionist Melissa Hardwick has successfully taken on Everest Base Camp, planting a special homemade flag bearing the school’s crest.

After turning 40 this year, Melissa was inspired to embark on a challenge of a lifetime, taking on the two-week trek through the stunning Himalayas, while walking at an altitude of 5,364 meters above sea level.

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The homemade flag was designed and created by an Old Trafford Primary Academy pupil, bearing the school’s crest and carrying the school’s spirit alongside Melissa on her journey.

Melissa Hardwick on journey. Photo:  Focus-TrustMelissa Hardwick on journey. Photo:  Focus-Trust
Melissa Hardwick on journey. Photo: Focus-Trust

Starting with an exhilarating helicopter ride into Tenzing-Hillary airport - the most dangerous airport in the world on the edge of a 2,000 ft cliff - the journey consisted of breathtaking scenery through forests, waterfalls and along the beautiful Dudh Kosi River.

Melissa and her team stayed in beautiful little villages along the way, speaking to the wonderful locals and gaining a taste of their way of life.

The team arrived at base camp on day 9, after an emotional long trek. There Melissa was able to plant the flag where it will remain, hopefully, for years to come.

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Commenting on the journey, Melissa said: “Although the trek was tough, at times there were tears and I even wondered if I could finish it - I really felt the effects of altitude and even got sick, but I got through it. It was the most incredible experience I could have wished for.

“The Himalayas were truly beautiful, made even more special by the people. I am feeling incredibly proud of myself.”

Nicole Davenport, Headteacher at Old Trafford Primary Academy, said: “We are all so proud of Melissa and her achievements!

“We have all been following Melissa on her journey as she sent us update pictures to show to the pupils, which has been an amazing source of inspiration and discussion.”

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Old Trafford Primary Academy is part of Focus-Trust, a charitable primary school trust based in the North West of England and West Yorkshire, that aims to provide great schools at the heart of communities where children thrive, achieve, and succeed.