PUPILS at a girl's school in North Yorkshire are riding high ahead of the Tour De France.

Girls at Queen Margaret’s in Escrick, are gearing up for their own version of a tour de Yorkshire to raise funds for The Theo Trust charity with a very special mascot for their journey, a Victorian penny farthing from 1850 on loan from the York Castle Museum.

After a successful 210 mile journey that raised nearly £3,000 in 2012, the girls are back to complete a 180 mile trip on the Yorkshire Dales route of the forthcoming TdF.

Quentin Sands, head of theatre studies at the school, will be leading the girls on the expedition.

He said: "This is an incredible opportunity for the school as girls will not only be raising funds in aid of The Theo Trust, but also getting to be part of history in the making as they ride on the same route used by the Tour de France cyclists."

The Theo Trust is a charity supporting Russian children in orphanages by providing them residential, educational and holidays in the UK.

Two Russian girls who also participated in the first trip are spending this term at the school, will be joining the team on the forthcoming ride.

Meanwhile the school's head, Paul Silverwood, will be stepping down at the end of the summer after five years.

Dr Silverwood said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at QM. I wish all the staff, girls and their families every future success in their association with this excellent School. I encourage them all to aim high and exceed their expectations through hard work, positivity, mutual support and respect."

Chairman of governors, Emma Carnegie-Brown, said: “The governors would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Silverwood for his tireless hard work and heartfelt contribution to the life of Queen Margaret’s, and to wish the Silverwood family well for the future.”

While the school looks for a new a new head, Carole Cameron, the current deputy head, will be acting head from July until a new head is in post.