A once-in-a-lifetime experience is sending a 16-year-old Hucknall boy on an expedition to one of the poorest, but also most spectacular, countries in the world.
Ecuador, in South America, is renowned in equal measure as a hotspot for deprivation and biodoversity.
More than 50 per cent of rural communities live below the poverty line. But the landscape encompasses the Amazon jungle, the Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.
Mitchell Thomson-Wyer, of Ruffs Drive, will witness it all on a four-week educational expedition run by Camps International UK.
His mission will be to help people access clean water, decent schools and housing, and to protect wildlife and the environment.
Proud mum Hayley Elsom said: “This is a massive opportunity for a child of his age, and Mitchell is really looking forward to taking part in something so amazing.
“He will be helping to build housing and schools for the under-privileged, to replant the rainforest, clean the beaches and look after marine life. He will also do a lot of trekking in the forest and take a scuba-diving course.
“We are proud of him. It all sounds daunting, but he’s excited about doing new things and meeting new people.”
Mitchell, who lives with his mum, stepdad Kieran, four brothers and a sister, volunteered for the trip when Camps International invited his school, Park Vale Academy in Top Valley, to become involved. He is one of several pupils heading out to Ecuador.
“He wanted to go because he thought it was a good cause,” added Hayley, 34. “He is keen to help children who are less advantaged than him, and is interested in the environment.”
The only drawback to the experience is that Mitchell has to pay the £4,500 cost himself, so he has been busy fundraising since last summer.
Money has already been generated from a fun day and a Halloween disco at Rolls-Royce, while a Christmas fair, complete with an inflatable Santa’s grotto, is earmarked for Holgate Academy on December 14 .
Mitchell has also set up Facebook and GoFundMe pages online, and is hoping to get a weekend job. All this as well as working hard towards his GCSEs next May.
He said: “I am asking people to donate as much or as little as they can to help me get to my goal.”