In November, Phil Glenister from Cisco International Limited and his friend Andy Watson accomplished an amazing feat in support of The Disabilities Trust. The pair challenged themselves with a ride across Death Valley, Eastern California, the hottest and driest area in North America, to raise money for the Trust’s Heathermount School in Ascot. The six-day challenge took them through eerie ghost towns, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and to the finishing point of the bright lights of Las Vegas.

They covered 238 miles, ascending to 5,500 feet in 38 degree temperatures. Phil raised a total of £2,650 for Heathermount School, which will be used to purchase sports equipment for the new sports hall currently under construction. This includes four wall mounted basketball hoops and a 13 metre retractable full height sports net. Phil said: “It was by far the hardest physical challenge I have undertaken so far!

It’s hard to summarise what was an epic challenge and journey through Death Valley, a place where the desolation, the beauty and the silence is often quite haunting and where you find yourself at times in a meditative state.

Headteacher Ruth Bovill said: “It is such a fantastic achievement and we are extremely grateful for Phil and Andy’s efforts. We will be using the money to purchase new equipment for the new sports hall which I know the children will really appreciate.”

At Heathermount all students are helped to become independent, confident young adults who are able to leave school and enter the world of further education or employment. No student has left Heathermount and become a government statistic for Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). All have either progressed to colleges of further education or into the world of work.

Our person centred approach is critical to the success of every one of our students, and there is a strong commitment to a positive and progressive school experience. The key to success for students lies within our capacity to individualise the learning experience around the young person's strengths and autistic needs.

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