THE only way was up for students and staff from the Thomas Hardye School who braved stormy conditions for a charity challenge.

A team of 18 from the school, including teachers Mal Hignett and Dr Georgie Collington, took turns in climbing the 33-metre mast of the TS Pelican in Weymouth Harbour.

Their efforts were part of their fundraising mission ahead of the adventure of a lifetime later this year.

They need to raise a combined £26,000 to take part in a 600-mile leg of the Tall Ships race between Norway and Denmark.

Mr Hignett said the goal for the TS Pelican challenge had been to climb the equivalent height of Ben Nevis, 1,340 meters, between them.

However, the conditions were so terrible they were unable to complete the challenge but will come back to finish the job.

Mr Hignett said: “We didn’t quite complete it but everyone had a good go at climbing the mast and we were all well and truly freezing by the end of it.

“We are going to go back and finish it probably some time in February.”

Mr Hignett said if the group is able to achieve its fundraising target it will give them a really special opportunity of being involved in the Tall Ships race this summer.

He said they were planning to do a number of other events to raise funds, although they had not decided exactly what yet, and were also really keen to hear from anyone willing to sponsor them or donate to their efforts.

To find out more about the challenge and how you can support the Thomas Hardye team visit