ADVENTUROUS King’s Ely student Thomas Keeling is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime.

Thomas (17), who is a student at King’s Ely Sixth Form, has become the third recipient of the school’s prestigious Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) Award.

The award will enable courageous Thomas to embark on a seven day voyage of the high seas, where he will experience many physical and psychological challenges, and discover skills and abilities that he may never have even realised he had.

The TSYT Award has been given to King’s Ely by David Andrew, an Old Elean who left the school after the Sixth Form in 1959. Since attending King’s Ely, David has been passionate about sailing and has been an active member and volunteer for the Tall Ships Youth Trust since 1981, when he first went on a sail training voyage. David gifted the school a bursary for the first time in 2015 and the prize is available to Year 11 and Year 12 students.

On receiving the award, an excited Thomas said: “I applied for the award because I thought it would be a great way to really put myself out there and test my boundaries. I’m feeling excited, but also a little apprehensive about the voyage but I know it’s going to be an adventure I’ll remember forever.”

Last year’s TSYT Award winner, Archie Morrison-Brown, chose to join the crew on the Stavros S Niarchos, a magnificent 60 metre brig and the largest ship in the trust’s fleet. The training crew were pushed to their limits by the arrival of Storm Katie as they set off from Liverpool. Despite adverse conditions and the challenge of learning to sail on such a large vessel, Archie thoroughly enjoyed his trip and by the end of the week he was ready to take the helm for a night sailing from Campbelltown to Greenock.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, commented: “This is a tremendous opportunity for adventure and personal growth; we are very grateful to David Andrew for making it possible.”

The TSYT is a registered charity dedicated to the personal development of young people through the crewing of ocean going vessels. It is the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity for young people aged 12 to 25.

For more information about the TSYT, please visit

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