Students praised after dramatic mountain rescue

Sixteen students awarded commendations after coming to the aid of a member of staff in a dramatic mountain rescue during their World Challenge trip won praise throughout the region for their efforts when their story featured on BBC TV news and in the press

HEADMASTER Jonathan Webb, presenting the students with their awards, said: "You demonstrated wonderful qualities of teamwork, fortitude, a sense of humour and a willingness and real spirit to ensure everything was done safely and securely to get Mrs Savage off the mountain and into hospital. Thank you.”

Well done to Ollie Kitson, William Bellaries, Nia Peedell, Dulcie Say, Luca Sutton, Alex Sanderson, Henry Simpson, Rebekah Chaplin, James Pollington-Clyne, Adam Dickinson, Eashan Turnbull, George Curtis, Josh Bell-Walker, Evie Blaylock, Hugo Wade and Hannah Melhuish.

Photographs by BARBARA BARKLIE

See the BBC Look North report, which features interviews with students, on our social media platforms.

One of the newspaper reports (The Northern Echo), below:

Pupils praised after helping school worker down mountain after leg break

Students banded together to carry her to safety in a makeshift stretcher


A NORTH Yorkshire school worker had to be carried down the side of a steep mountain after she broke two bones in her leg in an agonising accident.

Ruth Savage, who works at Ripon Grammar School in North Yorkshire, broke both her tibia and fibula bones in her leg on July 29 whilst accompanying a group of students on their World Challenge trip in Laos.

The 16-strong group had been on a mountain trail at the time of the accident, just a week into their three-week challenge.

Following her injury, all the students banded together to carry Ruth to safety in a makeshift stretcher down the hill in difficult and slippery conditions to a tuk-tuk which was able to transport her to a local hospital.

Ruth said: "It was just a stupid fall on the path. When I slipped and fell, I heard a crack. I had never broken a bone before so immediately knew something serious had happened.

"It was on a steep slope and I was in an awkward position but the World Challenge leader, Emma, mobilised everyone and got everyone into action to help me.

"There were about eight people carrying me at one time, others went and scouted ahead as the road we were on was more than half an hour away normally, although it took two-and-a-half hours to get me there.

"They were just amazing and worked so well as a team - I was in awe, they were really caring and definitely rose to the challenge."

Students used first aid equipment from their bags to move Ruth to a flatter surface, offering up their clothes as padding.

They also found pieces of bamboo and creatively wrapped tarpaulin around it, building a makeshift stretcher as well as a splint for the leg itself.

Following their heroic actions, Ruth was airlifted to a hospital in Bangkok where she underwent an operation on August 1.

She said: "The worst part about the whole experience is that I was so far away from my family and having to tell them what happened.

"World Challenge were amazing and they flew my husband out to Bangkok too, he was able to stay with me and escort me home."

World Challenge Leader Emma Burrows, who mobilised the group that brought Ruth to safety spoke of the team ethos of the students.

She said: "I'm fortunate to have had the team I did with me in Laos. The students all pulled together as a team and we were safely able to carry Ruth out using a stretcher we made from bamboo on the trail and the survival bag we'd carried with us.

"The team were all really helpful and we were able to get Ruth to the road and then to the medical attention she needed."

The Ripon Grammar students who helped Ruth in her hour of need have now been commended by Headmaster Jonathan Webb in an award ceremony at the school for their work.

Ruth, now recovering well (below) was able to see the students at the awards for the first time since that terrifying day; pictured (top) sitting proudly next to the group who brought her for safety.