Scout Jamie’s caving adventure

Jamie Chappell, new member of 1st Rudgwick Scouts has been out enjoying caving, despite his cerebral palsy - picture by Paul Fretwell (contrubuted)
Jamie Chappell, new member of 1st Rudgwick Scouts has been out enjoying caving, despite his cerebral palsy - picture by Paul Fretwell (contrubuted)

A boy with cerebral palsy has been enjoying caving as a new recruit of Rudgwick scouts group - only years after he was confined to a wheelchair.

Last month Jamie Chappell, 11, joined the 1st Rudgwick Scouts on a trip to the Mendips for a caving weekend.

Tony Radmall from the West Sussex County Caving Team, said: “Scouting is about being inclusive, so when a caving trip came up, we knew we could offer him a chance to be included in some way, confident with the caving expertise we have.

“Rudgwick Scout leaders Simon and Chris, make an outstanding team, wanting the best possible adventure for Jamie.

“I’ve had many brilliant times in caving, but this ranked up there with the best of them. Reminding me there is no ‘I’ in team, there is no ‘I’ in scout.

“Saturday’s cave and with excitement levels high, Simon and myself helped Jamie, Chris helped the rest of the group made up of three girls.

“Four hours later we emerged, Jamie was tired but wearing the most enormous grin you have ever seen.”

On the Sunday the team was in a harder cave with water. Tony said Jamie was still determined to challenge himself.

It was even more of an achievement considering Jamie has not long been able to walk.

His mum Gemma said: “Jamie had major surgery just over three years ago that has seen him transition from a wheelchair/walking frame to walking with crutches amongst other phenomenal achievements.

“I am so proud of Jamie for all his achievements and his smiley, optimistic attitude that he injects into everything he does and really thankful to all of the scouting/caving team for making this opportunity possible for Jamie.”

Jamie, who goes to Rudgwick Primary School, is already looking forward to his next trip.

He said: “Before I went caving I was a little bit worried whether I would be able to keep up with all my friends in the caves.

“When I first saw the caves on the Saturday morning I felt really scared but it turned out to be great fun!

“My favourite part of the trip was the second cave we went in because it was really wet. It was challenging at times but Si, Badger and Chris helped me when I needed it. I can’t wait to go again next year.”

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