The Miles Clark Travel Scholarship Fund
The fund was established in 1994 to commemorate the life of Miles Clark (Severn Hill 1974-78). It aimed to promote and nurture the ideas of travel, adventure, personal challenge and research – so important to Miles – amongst Salopians, through helping them travel overseas during the time between leaving school and entering Higher Education.
Originally the Trust (inspired by Richard Raven who had been Housemaster of Severn Hill when Miles was at Shrewsbury) had hoped to raise enough money for a single payment to send one Salopian on such a journey. The response to requests for funds was however so great that we have been able to fund grants from the interest alone since its inception. In general, the size of grants made has increased as has the cost of living. Last year, grants ranged between £250 and £700. We would like to be able to raise that sum over time, to ensure that Salopians can continue such adventurous and positive use of gap years well into the future.
There is no doubt that the scheme has been a great success. This can be measured in terms of the number of Salopians, now over 1500, who have been sent abroad since 1995. It has also, through the recent support of the Old Salopian Club, been possible to slightly widen the remit of the original Trust, to include supporting a limited number of exploits “in the spirit of Miles Clark” even if they did not entirely fulfil all the original criteria.
However, the greatest measure must go to the handful of ex-Award winners who have returned to travelling and adventure after their initial Gap year venture, and have taken the concept of “challenge” to a new level. These include: Alastair Humphreys (who cycled around the world for over four years); Robert Lilwall (who cycled to England from Siberia for over three years) and Dominic Gill (who cycled by tandem from the north coast of Canada to Tierra del Fuego in over two years). Like Miles, they not only had great adventures, but chronicled them in various ways, and their published works are listed below.
Alastair Humphreys (www.alastairhumphreys.com)
Books: Moods of Future Joy; Thunder and Sunshine; Ten Lessons From the Road
Robert Lilwall (www.facebook.com/walkinghomefrommongolia)
Book: Cycling Home from Siberia
DVD: Cycling Home From Siberia (produced with National Geographic for TV )
Dominic Gill (www.takeaseat.org)
TV: ITV4 Production Take a Seat
Book: Aiming for publication in the New Year (2013)
The Trustees are very happy with the way the Travel Scholarship has developed and feel confident that it is proving to be a very worthy continuing commemoration of Miles. The current Trustees are Chris Conway (Chairman), the Headmaster, Thane Warburg, Dr Richard Case and Bruce Clark, Miles’ elder brother.
One more publication to be highlighted – perhaps the one that binds all this together – is Sailing Away by Wallace Clark (father of Miles) who himself was a great adventurer and travel writer. This book about Miles contains details of the Travel scholarship, and it is his approval of and support for the scheme more than anything else, which makes us feel that it is very much a fitting memorial to Miles.