Pupils manage 29,029ft virtual Everest climb

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A GROUP of determined youngsters have climbed Mount Everest – without leaving Sunderland.

Children from the city’s Box Youth Project climbed the equivalent of the world’s highest mountain by scaling Penshaw Hill more than a hundred times.

Everest is an impressive 29,029ft, whereas the hill leading up to Penshaw Monument is a tiny 97 times smaller at just 300ft.

Ten youngsters and five young volunteers from the Hall Farm youth group managed to scramble uphill a total of 128 times, each collecting a star every time they reached the top.

Zoe Tipling and Alicia Redman, both aged 10, each completed 14 ascents while Josh Wood, aged eight, broke the record for the fastest ascent and descent at three minutes and 45 seconds.

Manager Lisa Wilson Riddell said: “For the vast majority of the group members this was the first time they had ever been to the top of Penshaw Hill.”

The challenge was aimed at encouraging young people to be active during school holidays and also to raise money for Project Gambia 2012, which will see 10 young people from Sunderland travel to the African country in December.

The volunteers will spend two weeks refurbishing a block of six storm-damaged classrooms at Gunjur Upper Basic School.

Kids from the youth group are also raising funds to ship out a container full of classroom furniture and educational resources to young African people living in poverty.

Twitter: @janethejourno

PENSHAW Monument is a folly built in 1844 and is dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada.

The monument is a half-sized replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens.

Although often called “Penshaw Monument”, the correct title is The Earl of Durham’s Monument.

It stands on Penshaw Hill, which is something of a toponymic peculiarity. The name is derived from a mixture of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon words. Pen is a Cumbric word for hill; shaw is derived from sceaga meaning “wooded area”; and finally the English word “hill”. Thus when translated, the name means “wooded-hill hill”.