Rotherham headteacher falls ill during Alps challenge

Nick Whittaker
Nick Whittaker

An executive headteacher has raised £4,000 for his schools by taking part in a 100-mile race through the Alps, despite being unable to complete the event due to illness.

Nick Whittaker, aged 48, who oversees Kelford School, in Kimberworth as well as Hilltop School, in Maltby, fell ill before the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.

He completed the first 51 miles, climbing more than 4,500 metres, before organisers advised him to pull out after 18 hours.

Nick was aiming to take around 35 hours to complete the race, which started and ended in Chamonix, France, and took in parts of Italy and Switzerland.

He said: “It looks like I was just unlucky and picked up a bug. I was sick more times than during the whole of my adult life and was advised to stop by the race organisers.”

But he told supporters: “I gave it my best shot and I hope you feel I have done enough to earn your support.”

Nick, who successfully completed the 62-mile and 80-mile UTMB races in 2012 and 2013, hoped to raise £3,000, but his total has reached £4,000 so far.

Kelford and Hilltop schools cater for children with complex educational needs.

Nick aimed to raise £1,000 for expedition equipment for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at the schools.

Another £1,000 was for sensory equipment, and the final £1,000 was for The Foundry Climbing Centre, in Sheffield, to help children and young people with disabilities learn to climb.

Nick said: “The money will make a huge difference to the children and young people at Hilltop and Kelford.

“I am enormously grateful for everyone’s friendship, kindness and generosity.”

To donate, email nick.whittaker@rotherham.gov.uk