Rebecca Stephens MBE visits Harrogate Ladies’ College

Harrogate Ladies' College students celebrate at their end-of-year ball

Harrogate Ladies' College students celebrate at their end-of-year ball - Credit: Archant

Harrogate Ladies’ College students inspired by Everest-conquering climber

The girls of Harrogate Ladies' College, where everyone is encouraged to aim high

The girls of Harrogate Ladies' College, where everyone is encouraged to aim high - Credit: Archant

Harrogate Ladies’ College has always encouraged its girls to aim high, a sentiment echoed in its recent speech day address given by Rebecca Stephens MBE, the first British woman to climb Everest and the first English-speaking woman in the world to climb the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents).

As if this was not enough, she’s also sailed the southern seas to the South Magnetic Pole and Antarctica, has competed in an eight-day eco-challenge with polar explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Mike Stroud, running, biking and canoeing across the Canadian Rockies and, most recently, has crossed the island of South Georgia in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Rebecca has an international reputation for inspiring and motivating all ages in all walks of life. In her speech to the Harrogate students, she encouraged them all to follow their ambitions and say yes to opportunities.

Mayor of Harrogate Jim Clark also attended this year’s speech day, explaining how the Tour de France had raised international awareness of Harrogate. Chair of the governors Sarah Pullen recognised the hard work of the staff and principal. And the head girl expressed her gratitude to the school for the support she and her fellow pupils had received over the years.

The prefects gave an overview of all the students’ activities, trips and achievements, while The Charity Society presented Rebecca Stephens with a cheque for The Himalayan Trust UK, which helps the Sherpa community.

A spokesperson for the college said: ‘We were delighted that Rebecca could join us to celebrate another very successful year of the school. Our members of staff teach to a very high standard and we provide an incredible range of extracurricular activities. However, sometimes there’s no substitute for being in the company of somebody who has already achieved at a very high level.

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‘Rebecca is not only an explorer and climber of global significance; she is also someone who understands the importance of leadership, teamwork and motivation.’

Principal Sylvia Brett concluded by reflecting on the trust, loyalty, tolerance, inclusiveness and honesty on display in the school and on the girls’ extraordinary grit and determination. She cited many examples of this determination to succeed whilst supporting each other including a leadership course which involved training with the Royal Marines.

She also took the opportunity to thank parents, governors and ex-pupils.