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Inspirational Paralympic Athlete visits Lipson Co-

operative Academy


This is the third successful year whereby Lipson Co-operative students have been given the opportunity of working with an inspirational Sky Sports Living mentor, which is a programme set up with the Youth Sports Trust and Sky Sports. Schools are asked outline the projects they wish to focus on and are then given a sporting mentor to support the project. Lipson have now had two former Olympic and a Paralympic role models working with school to develop life skills through sport. 

This year, they are fortunate to have David Hill, Former Paralympic Swimmer and Triathlete and World Champion Triathlete. David worked with their Elite Sports Teams, Sports Leaders and Ambassadors, Sixth Form A Level students, and importantly, worked alongside their Physically Disabled and Special Educational Need students; leading a session that focused on breaking down barriers with clear links to resilience and the desire to achieve.

Head of PE at Lipson, Miss Woodstock said that, “David was extremely inspirational, particularly as a Paralympic Triathlete working with our PD and SEND students. He helped to raise the aspirations of our students, working together as a team and helped them to understand that they can achieve anything with hard work, determinate and desire." David discussed the six life skills for success which encompass: mental toughness; a hunger to achieve; people skills; sports and life knowledge; breaking barriers and planning for success alongside involving the group in activities that incorporated those skills. The discussion also highlighted how the skills required to achieve also work alongside the school’s values such as resilience, equality and self-responsibility to name only a few.

David shared his own stories of success from learning to swim at a young age with a local swimming club to competing in his first Paralympic Games at the age of 15. Born with no left forearm, David explained that the disability didn't stop him from wanting to pursuit his dreams; he seems himself as a very lucky man who has had the opportunity to compete in the Paralympics within two different sports: Paralympic swimming and ParaTriathlons.

David’s motto in life is "if you succeed in planning, you plan to succeed" and this was put into action throughout his day with students. Principal, Mrs Lynda Budd, approaches her leadership of Lipson Co-operative Academy with a ‘can do’ motto and said, “it was a real pleasure to see David teaching our students his own motto which links in with our own values. Having David, who is a successful athlete come to Lipson was fantastic. Having him tell his life story to the students was truly inspirational and it allowed them to witness first hand that whatever barrier you feel maybe standing in your way, nothing should stop you from wanting to achieve your dream. If you have the right attitude, the perseverance and the determination to want to achieve, you will. The visit has had a profound and positive effect on the students and on those who face their own personal barriers. We look forward to having him join us again in June for our Sports Day."

Elite sport is a personal journey with many highs and lows, and David was a shining example of a Paralympic role model for Lipson PD students. Having experienced these elements in his life, students were able to relate to David’s journey through their own. Furqan Jassim in Year 9 said, "David has taught me that no matter what struggles I may come across in my lifetime, I will always be able to find a way to overcome them.”