No teenager wants to spend their summer at school, but 14-year-old Eugenie Shevlin received the education of a lifetime thanks to a Bear Grylls survival show.
The Jack Hunt School pupil is currently featuring on a Saturday morning ITV series with the famed adventurer which has seen her conquer her fears by jumping out of a helicopter and eating maggots and a cow’s tongue.
And the two-week experience of a lifetime in Wales to film Bear Grylls Survival School has left a lasting, and positive impact. Eugenie said: “I feel more confident in myself and I know I can do things when I put my mind to it.”
Little did Eugenie know while she was asleep on a May night last year that mum Patricia would see a TV advert for the show.
Despite it being the early hours of the morning Patricia was running upstairs to push her daughter to start preparing her application.
“Eugenie said: “Mum woke me up and my eyes were puffy and I was half asleep. She told me to do a video and talk about something interesting I’ve done, so I talked about the time I went to China for two weeks in Year Eight.”
The application was sent off for the show, which Eugenie had enjoyed watching, and she was stunned to find out from producers that she would be one of 10 people to join Bear on the show.
She said: “I was in shock, and all I hear is mum running up and down the stairs screaming, ‘my daughter is going to be on TV’.”
The added bonus, of course, was meeting Bear. Eugenie said: “I think he is extraordinary. Mum likes him a lot because he is Christian and has done a lot of things.”
But when Eugenie met Bear on a speedboat for the first time, he was ready to put the 10 young people to work. “He said the school run is over, jump out the boat and swim to shore.”
Eugenie, though, said she found the adventurer a great comfort during a tough fortnight. “He was really funny and really encouraging as well. One time I had to jump out of a helicopter and started crying.
“He said, ‘if you can’t doit, you can’t do it. But I know you can’.”
The survival challenges really took Eugenie out of her comfort zone - “I don’t even like swimming at school,” she said - but after making it through many challenges she got to end the series by climbing a mountain with the rest of her group. “They were the most wonderful experiences,” she enthused.
Eugenie’s school friends were clueless as to why she had suddenly disappeared for two weeks during the summer, but were delighted to find out they could watch her on TV.
And they aren’t the only ones. “I was going shopping with my mum,” added Eugenie, “and a woman with a teenager said, ‘are you that girl on the Bear Grylls Survival Show’?”