Thanks to Ten Tors Roger

PUBLISHED: 15:01 24 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 18 June 2010

NOT many people would spend the last 25 years coaching youngsters for the gruelling Ten Tors event but one Sidmouth man has done just that. Roger White, 57, a Sidmouth College teacher, has trained around 500 children over a quarter of a century and his en

NOT many people would spend the last 25 years coaching youngsters for the gruelling Ten Tors event but one Sidmouth man has done just that.

Roger White, 57, a Sidmouth College teacher, has trained around 500 children over a quarter of a century and his enthusiasm shows no signs of waning.

Sidmouth Police Sergeant, Andy Turner, was in the first ever team coached by Roger.

Andy alongside, Steven Reid, Andrew Tenney, Richard Vincent, Martin Rowlands and Russell Blezard took part in the 35 mile Sidmouth College team in 1984 and were led to success by Roger.

"We owe him an enormous debt," said Andy who went on to do the Ten Tors event three years in a row.

"Of those 500 kids an awful lot have been successful in their chosen profession or field and I'm pretty confident I wouldn't have gone on to do this job if I hadn't done Ten Tors. He set the building blocks for us to go on to do bigger and better things."

Andrew Coley, who trained for three Ten Tors distances in the '80s under Roger's guidance, said: "He was always very committed to getting everyone involved. When I was 15, the school was only allocated one 35-mile team and as I was due to do exams the following year, I was in the group that was given priority but it meant a lot would miss out.

"Rather than accepting this, Roger helped create the Exmoor Challenge, which was open to everyone and was just as gruelling as Ten Tors."

Roger, with the support of his wife, Mary, and children, David, Robert and Sarah, has given up scores of weekends to coach the children in preparation for the life changing event and always put safety before anything else.

Andrew added: "He also made sure we were completely ready for the event on Dartmoor, with training walks from January and fitness sessions in the last few weeks, as well as checking kit and navigation skills.

"I remember an occasion when it rained throughout our walk, and there was very poor visibility. I had a bright orange waterproof at the time and decided to walk at the back, so if those at the front could see me, they knew the whole group was largely together.

"Roger made a particular point of thanking me, and told me it had not gone unnoticed."

John Keast, who coaches children alongside Roger, first became involved in Ten Tors when his daughter took part in the event five years ago.

A governor of Sidmouth College, John says some of the pupil's transformations after they take part in the event are amazing:

"It brings out their confidence and provides them with an opportunity which some of them may not have in an academic sense.

"It is a pleasure to be involved and part of that is because of the wealth of experience Roger brings.

"It is a lot of hard work and organisation but Roger never gives that impression. He loves it and it is good to be able to support him."

If you have been coached by Roger please contact the Herald on (01392) 888503 or email beth.henzell@archant.co.uk.

P Whereswally - An enthusiastic Roger with the first Ten Tors team he coached back in 1984


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