The Dorset Sponsored Walk -backed by staff and students at Ely College- WILL go ahead despite term time ban

The Dorset Sponsored Walk

The Dorset Sponsored Walk - Credit: Archant

A charity walk involving students and staff from Ely College will still go ahead this year despite a ban on it taking place during term time.

The Dorset Sponsored Walk

The Dorset Sponsored Walk - Credit: Archant

The Dorset Sponsored Walk - involving staff and students from Ely College to raise money for The Malcolm Whales Foundation – will now take place from August 4-8.

Organisers had failed to reach agreement with the college governing body and new principal Evelyn Forde to retain the 40 mile, three day walk in term time.

The foundation posted about the move on social media that “the walk cannot disappear.

“We need your help and your support. The walk will need a rebrand

“The positive is, it is now very open to everyone - not just students.

“Please spread the word and share your interest.”

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The foundation, which has a personal connection to many at Ely College, was set up by assistant principal Damien Whales in memory of his late father who died of bowel cancer aged 55.

It has since raised more than £100,000 over seven years.

“My dad, Malcolm, was a very active man who always lived life to its fullest,” said Mr Whales.

“Unfortunately when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, there had been no obvious signs.

“By the time he received his prognosis, the cancer had spread throughout his body, meaning he never really stood a fighting chance.

“Anybody that has been affected by cancer will understand the utter devastation that it leaves.

“The impact on my life has been beyond measure. I am desperate to honour my father’s memory and create something positive from my personal tragedy.”

Evie Jackson, a student at Ely College, said: “The walk inspires others, raises money and awareness for a great cause, challenges people, educates students and it is an amazing opportunity to have fun, make friends and get fit.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Oscar Edwards, who has taken part in the walk previously, said: “The trip itself gave me experiences with my friends, unobtainable from regular school life.

“Many of my friends faced challenges they may never have dreamed of experiencing anywhere else, both physically and mentally.”

The minimum amount of sponsorship required to take part in The Dorset Walk is £100.

Anyone wishing to donate, sponsor the walk or take part, should visit:

Former student Jack Emery, who has been made an associate trustee of the foundation, said: “I think it’s great that the walk can still go ahead; hopefully this can be used as an opportunity to grow the event.”