COLLEGE students tested their mettle by surviving three nights with the British Army in memory of a South Yorkshire soldier killed in action in Afghanistan.
Barnsley College Public Services students slept, ate and trained alongside soldiers under the supervision of experienced instructors, to raise money for an armed forces charity.
The students dedicated the exercise to the memory of Private Matthew Thornton, from Darton and a former student on the same course, who died last November.
The group was tested to the maximum by taking part in a variety of activities at the Beckingham Barracks in Lincolnshire, including intensive fitness sessions, basic fighting skills, night exercises and the dreaded assault course.
Val Mills, a director at the college, said: “Matthew was a student on our Uniformed Services courses from 2000 to 2002 and is fondly remembered by the staff as being a cheerful and dedicated student who put 110 per cent effort into his studies and was always willing to take part in anything that was on offer, especially the practical elements of the course.
“In college, Matthew was a popular student with both staff and students.
“His dedication to his country and subsequent death had a major impact on our current students and, as a result, they dedicated their fund raising to the Army Benevolent Fund in memory of Private Matthew Thornton.”
The students raised £2,428 for the Army Benevolent Fund that supports soldiers, former soldiers and their families in time of need or distress due to death, injury, illness or unforeseen circumstances.
The trip challenged students’ dedication and determination and was among activities planned by the college to use Olympic values and ideals to ‘promote aspiration and achievement’. It was part-funded by South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Aspiration and Achievement Fund.
n Visit www.sycf.org.uk for information on the fund.