You have less time to feel sorry for yourself. I have learned that I am not on my own

“I attend the Royal Wolverhampton School, funded by the school and charities. Before becoming a boarder, I would say my life seemed to have little purpose and direction. I was constantly confused about everything. But the school and charities threw me a life line which I gladly reached out and grasped with both hands. I really cannot begin to tell you how much I have come to appreciate the generosity of those who give towards this cause. 

“Boarding was not easy to begin with. There were those first few weeks of settling in, missing Mom and familiar surroundings but I soon found that the busier you are the less time you have to feel sorry for yourself.

“I joined the Cadet Force and soon found that I fitted in well with everyone. What really surprised me about CCF is how quickly I accepted the discipline. (My mom really wants to know their secret.) I have learnt First Aid, CPR, rock climbing, shooting, reaching 2 marksmanship and I have been flying, learning aerobatics and glides.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed all these activities and Fred and Barry at the camp I went to in Nesscliff have told me I’m a natural rock climber. With this amazing opportunity I have found a new skill which I enjoy immensely. 

“At the Camp in Scotland I went mountain climbing and was overwhelmed by the surrounding views. The challenges of mountain climbing are much greater than rock climbing, there is further to climb and the rocks are craggier, and it’s a very long way down but the views are staggering and the air is as fresh as you can get.

Canoeing was also a new experience for me. The best part of this exercise was, experiencing the vastness of the lake, the freedom of gliding through the water and seeing my first Osprey. However CCF is not just about seeing and experiencing all these marvellous things but more important, how to work as a team. 

“I have learnt that I am not alone, that someone is always at my side, even in the trickiest of moments, such as in rock climbing, there is always someone to give you encouragement, someone on the other end of the rope holding you, and should you need that extra support it is there.  It is these lessons learnt from CCF that I have been able to carry over into the rest of my every day life. 

“Without funding, I would not have been able to take to the skies and learn about aerobatics and gliding. I eagerly await my first lessons in taking off and landing. It is flying that I love the most and because of this experience I have decided I would like to be a navigator in the Royal Air Force. 

“If  the charities believe in me enough to support my education then I am going to give the best I can academically. My grades get better every year as my desire to learn becomes greater. I know that if I am to be a navigator I will have to work hard. I am supported by all the boarding staff and academic staff at The Royal Wolverhampton School, so there is no reason why these dreams cannot become a reality.

“Boarding teaches you organisational skills, good time keeping, social skills and responsibility not just for yourself but for those people around and also independence. Boarding is about building friendships and seeing your boarding friends become like  sisters, it really is like being part of a large family. We have a lot of fun in our boarding house with various activities going on and there is never a dull moment. My House Mistress sees me as quite a hero because I am the only person in the house who likes spiders and as soon as one is seen my name is called, I earn a lot of extra house points for this.

“I know boarding is not for everyone, but it has transformed me from a person who had little direction and purpose in life, to someone who now relishes the challenges and is excited about the future. None of this would have been possible without people believing in me. I am glad I was cast a life line and I’m glad I have hung on to it. “