THE BIG READ: A summer holiday in the sky for Dominic and Nick

Spalding Grammar School students Dominic Allen and Nick Carter are fundraising towards an India-Himalyan expedition in 2018.  Photo (TIM WILSON):  SG081216-116TW.
Spalding Grammar School students Dominic Allen and Nick Carter are fundraising towards an India-Himalyan expedition in 2018. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG081216-116TW.
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Spalding Grammar School pair think ahead to 2018 and a India Himalaya holiday

Families in South Holland may be thinking about booking their 2017 holidays, but two Spalding Grammar School friends have already made their minds up for 2018.

Year 11 students Dominic Allen and Nick Carter (both 15) have set their sights, and hearts, of spending their summers as 17-year-old on an epic, 25-day expedition to India and the Himalayas in Nepal.

Dominic and Nick have more than 18 months to each raise £3,500 for the India Himalya trip run by Wales-based educational holiday business, Outlook Expeditions.

Nick said: “The whole Year 10,11 and 12 group in school had an assembly where we heard about Outlook Expeditions and the main aim of helping people in a Himalyan village become more self-sufficient.

“It was an instant decision to sign up for it and just the thought of going to the Himalayas, which is such an iconic place, is something that made me think that it would be a shame to pass it up.”

For me, this expedition is as much about exploring different things as it is about helping people

Nick Carter, Spalding Grammar School

Dominic said: “When I saw films of the charity work in Nepal, building a greenhouse where people can grow crops, helping to build more classrooms for a school or teaching English and maths to children, I wanted to make a difference.

“But my mum wanted me to be fully committed before I wanted and once I told her what I wanted to do and how I was going to raise the money to go there, she was all for it.”

Students from South Holland and south-east Lincolnshire have a history of taking their skills and experiences to less fortunate parts of the world and both Dominic and Nick have plenty of examples which they can follow.

Last April, Adam Turner of Spalding joined a 16-strong humanitarian team that flew out to Nepal following a devastating earthquake which claimed nearly 9,000 people and injured another 22,000.

Speaking to our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, in May 2015, Adam said: “I was part of a logistic support team helping with the communications between Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters teams and the United Nations.

“I was excited at first to be chosen and be part of the international effort, but it was also daunting and the scenes of devastation were overwhelming.

“Many of the older buildings had totally collapsed and there were a lot of displaced people living in the streets.

“Even if people’s homes had not been displaced, they had chosen to live outside in makeshift tents because they feared getting trapped after one of the aftershocks.”

Dominic and Nick’s expedition is due to start with a flight to Delhi, capital of India, with a chance to explore the city before traveling to the Himalayan resort town of Minali.

Nick said: “My parents said that if I was willing to do this, and raise the money, then go for it.

“At this point, we’ve just been doing bits and pieces around the school before the people who are taking us on the expedition give us a fundraising workshop in school this week.

“There are four teachers coming with us as well, but they aren’t going to give us any money towards the £3,500 target themselves.”

After Manali, Dominic and Nick head to the Spiti Valley and their base of Kaza at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 feet).

The expedition leaders will give the group time to acclimatise to their unusual environment before the boys learn about the Spiti Valley and its Greenhouse Project.

A statement about the expedition from Outlook Expeditions said: “Due to climate change, the delicate balance that has maintained life in the Himalayas has been disrupted and the consequences are severe.

“Less water leads to failed crops, leading to malnutrition and loss of income.

“Food then has to be imported at unaffordable prices, people move away and the community destabilizes.

“The greenhouse produce food all year round so that people have a better diet, a higher revenue and a reduced carbon footprint as fewer supplies have to be imported by truck.

“The project team starts by completing the walls, mixing the mud and water together to make the mortar for the building and then making bricks, using traditional rammed earth techniques.

“Once the walls have hardened, they then need to be completed, rendered and left to dry, ready for painting whilst work continues on the roof, windows and doors of the greenhouse.”

The rest of the expedition is a mixture of Himalyan treks, camping and a trip to the Indian city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

Nick said: “For me, this expedition is as much about exploring different things as it is about helping people.”

Dominic added: “Going out to Nepal and helping its people is a big aim of mine.

“But it’s also four weeks away from home when we’ll both find out what we’re really like.”

To support Dominic and Nick, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/himalayacharityproject

Outlook Expeditions itself was set up by former Paratrooper Matt Wells and Rhys Davies in 2001 to give teenagers potentially life-changing experiences abroad.

Each year, an estimated 3,000 young people go on expeditions lasting up to 28 days in countries as diverse as Ecuador, Peru, Malawi, Tanzania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Iceland and Romania.

Mr Wells said: “The customer journey starts from the moment we engage teachers in the sales process, through specifying the trip, to giving parents full visibility of their kids’ itinerary while they are away from home.

“We want parents and teachers to explore the world, browsing our amazing range of destinations and activities.”