14 December 2011 / I'M A TEACHER ... GET ME OUT OF HERE!
Displaying incredible bravado, they did little more than grimace when presented with a first course of curry-flavoured crickets, swallowed hard when munching on moth caterpillars and merely wrinkled their nose when pushing in a mealworm. A bucket had been thoughtfully provided in case the food proved too much but, thankfully, wasn't needed.
As if all that wasn't enough, Carl Lamb and Polly Vogel from Newquay Zoo had turned up to add to their feat of endurance. The pair first presented each contestant a giant African land snail to hold, then a cockroach, a giant millipede and finally a royal python.
The latter was almost Caroline Pascoe's undoing. Confessing that she was totally paranoid about snakes, she nevertheless took a deep breath, closed her eyes and allowed the reptile to fold himself round her arms.
"I only do fluffy animals so that last test was definitely the worst," said Mrs Pascoe. "My heart was in my throat and I just went cold.
"Eating the cricket and mealworm wasn't as bad as I imagined because the girls had got them from Selfridges and the flavours were okay. I didn't like the moth caterpillar though - it was very dry, hard to crunch and tasted of salt."
Mr Ford confessed that he, too, found the caterpillar hardest to digest. He wasn't keen on the giant millipede either.
"I didn't like the feel of it and it didn't help that the keeper told me to wash my hands afterwards to get rid of any toxic dung!"
With each contestant determined not to lose face, the trial resulted in a tie-break.
"It all went amazingly well and all the girls were impressed by the bravery displayed," said Head of PE Kat Barbery-Redd who oversaw Year 8's plans. "It was a great idea and certainly ended the school term in a very memorable way."
Certainly Mrs Pascoe and Mr Ford are unlikely to forget it.
Ends 13 December 2011
Photos (by Bernie Pettersen)
010: Mrs Pascoe grimaces her way through a first course of curry-flavoured cricket
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