King’s Ely student Thomas prepares to set sail after netting Tall Ships Youth Trust award

Thomas Keeling receives his award from Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, outside the Old Palac

Thomas Keeling receives his award from Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, outside the Old Palace. - Credit: Archant

An adventurous student from King’s Ely is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime.

Thomas Keeling, 17, has become the third recipient of the school’s Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) award.

The sixth form student will now embark on a seven-day voyage of the high seas, where he will brave a series of physical and psychological challenges.

The TSYT Award has been given to King’s Ely by David Andrew, an Old Elean who left the school in 1959. Since attending King’s Ely, David has been passionate about sailing and has been an active member and volunteer for the Tall Ships Youth Trust since 1981, when he first went on a sail training voyage. David gifted the school a bursary for the first time in 2015.

Thomas said: “I applied for the award because I thought it would be a great way to really put myself out there and test my boundaries. I’m feeling excited, but also a little apprehensive about the voyage but I know it’s going to be an adventure I’ll remember forever.”

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Last year’s TSYT Award winner, Archie Morrison-Brown, chose to join the crew on the Stavros S Niarchos, a 60-metre brig and the largest ship in the trust’s fleet.

Sue Freestone, principal, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for adventure and personal growth; we are very grateful to David Andrew for making it possible.”

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The TSYT is a registered charity dedicated to the personal development of young people through the crewing of ocean going vessels. It is the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity for young people aged 12 to 25.

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