Bristol teacher trains to shoot polar bears to protect pupils
A TEACHER has trained to become a sharp shooter as she prepares for a treacherous school trip.
Esther Lawton, who teaches science at Bristol Brunel Academy, is leading a group of six students on an Arctic expedition this summer.
She spent a day firearms training at Greystoke Castle, Penrith, under the watchful eye of Neville Howard.
Ms Lawton had to get to grips with a rifle and a shotgun due to a recent risk increase in polar bear movements in East Greenland.
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She trained using various guns including a 2.47 rifle and practised shooting in the prone, kneeling and standing positions. Polar bears tend to attack from about 40m, leaving little time to prepare.
The teacher said: "I can now load and reload a rifle so that should I have to take a shot I can be sure of what I'm aiming for and the consequences, should I miss.
"I also feel that the first shot has to be on target to kill just to be humane to an animal. I really don't want to hurt but may have to in order to protect my students and myself."
Madeline Canvin, a Year 11 student from St Bede's school, has also joined the expedition party.
To make the trip happen, there has been a huge fundraising effort by the team, which has so far raised £20,000. The three-week trip is due to start on July 9.