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“Superstar” students showcase their sporting successes and special deeds – Malcolm Clark (5)

“Superstar” students showcase their sporting successes and special deeds – Malcolm Clark (5)
28 July 2021

Malcolm ClarkSchools are out, summer is in – and it’s proving to be a time for some of our young students to shine in sporting events and special deeds! 

The holidays are generally seen as a time for young people to relax and unwind ahead of the start of a new year at school. 

Far from making the most of long lie ins and duvet days, some of our pupils have been out and about enjoying local and national successes in sporting events, raising money for charity and making their families proud. 

Here at the Council, we are also proud of our pupils – particularly the resilience shown after a challenging period throughout the pandemic - and would like to share a few of their stories with you over the holiday period. 

Tiny Malcolm Clark had a mountain to climb when he was born three months prematurely weighing less than a 2lb bag of sugar on 2 September 2015.

Now a strapping five-year-old – Malcolm, from Hoy, is still climbing – this time Orkney’s highest hill – Ward Hill on Hoy – raising money for the hospital that cared for him when he was born. 

Malcolm, who will be starting P2 at North Walls School after the summer holidays, managed to complete the hill route - some 481m (1,578ft) to its peak – under his own steam leading most of the way and he has now raised around £1,130 – almost six times his initial target!

He was accompanied by his mum and dad, Dawn and Adam, farmer, school bus driver and gardener and younger brother Russell, 3.

Dawn, who works for Orkney Islands Council in an administrative role, explained how it all came about: “I was flown down by emergency air ambulance to Aberdeen Hospital when I was only 26 weeks plus five days pregnant with him, and within 24hrs Malcolm arrived three months early weighing 1lb 14oz. 

“He was immediately taken to the neonatal unit, put on a ventilator and wired up to monitors inside a high-tech incubator. It was a very scary time of ups and downs, but Malcolm was lucky not to have any additional issues - he just took time to learn to breathe himself, gain weight and control his own body temperature.” 

Malcolm was 87 days old when he was finally allowed to go home to Hoy, Orkney.  

Malcolm has caught up with his age group, and started school last year, he often tells his mum his favourite things at school are PE and home time! 

Friends of the Neonatal Unit has been a charity close to the family’s hearts as they provided many of the things in the unit that made their time there a little more comfortable - baby photos, and a welcome card, breast pumps,  Giraffe incubators, provisions for the family sitting room and receive donations of beautiful blankets and nests.

Dawn continued: “Living in the shadow of Ward Hill Malcolm saw people climbing it and started saying he wanted to try and get to the top. We then saw a post on the Friends of the Neonatal Unit Facebook page asking people to raise money for the unit by getting sponsored to climb a hill of their choice. 

“So, inspired by the many young folk who raised money for charities throughout lockdown the idea was put to Malcolm and we signed up to raise money for The Archie Foundation incorporating the Friends of the Neonatal. Malcolm has been proud to tell everyone he is raising money for ‘his hospital’.” 

On 25 July, the family climbed Ward Hill. 

Dawn said: “The boys did really well, Malcolm managed to climb all by himself leading most of the way. Saying ‘hello’ to caterpillars, bonxies and a couple of hares and stopping regularly for a bite of chocolate and a drink of water in the heat on the way up. It took two hours to reach the top in time for lunch. We took lots of photos and Malcolm was able to spot his house, Granny and Grandad Hoy’s house and Flotta where his other Granny and Grandad live.”

Malcolm said: “I wanted to raise money for the hospital that looked after me when I was born. It was good fun climbing the hill, I kept falling over but I just got up and kept going though and I’m glad I have done it. 

“Thank you to everyone who has donated money – it’s a lot more than we hoped to get. It will mean the unit can buy more things to make it special for other people who need to use it.” 

There’s still time to donate if you follow the link to Malcolm's Hill Challenge page.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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