Stoke students aim for gold after inspirational Paralympic visit

Pictured: Ian Marsden trains during the Team GB Tokyo 2020 paracanoe squad announcement at the National Water Sports Center in Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham. (Image: Jacob King/PA Wire).

Submitted by Ormiston Academies

Pupils at a school in Stoke-on-Trent have been inspired to ‘go for the gold’ after an award-winning Paralympian visited their school.

Pupils from Packmoor Ormiston Academy, Packmoor, Staffordshire, were blessed with a visit from inspiring Paralympic canoeist and hand cyclist Ian Marsden.

The visit to the school, which is part of the Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), was organized by the Youth Sport Trust as part of their “Tokyo Olympic Legacy Project”.

The project helps Team GB Olympians and Paralympians lift the spirits of a generation of young people through a national school visitation programme.

Ian shares his inspiring story with students

The two-time world championship silver medalist led a workshop for Key Stage Two children, sharing his inspirational story with a focus on resilience.

The children were all very enthusiastic and asked Ian lots of questions about his difficult journey.

Ian also brought his ‘hand cycle’ which he currently trains on and even brought his Olympic bronze medal which was a real highlight for the kids.

Ian presents a workshop to the students

The Tokyo Olympic Legacy Project aims to build on the inspiration and positivity children have felt watching them compete in the Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

All the kids really enjoyed learning about Ian’s story and how having important skills like determination and resilience can help them reach their best.

Two-time Paralympic silver medalist Ian Marsden said:

“I really enjoyed visiting Packmoor Ormiston Academy. The staff and children were very welcoming and polite.

“The children were very engaged and enthusiastic while I was talking to them, they had lots of interesting questions to ask about my sport and my disability. I look forward to being able to visit the school again in the future.”

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Sharon May, Principal of Packmoor Ormiston Academy, said:

“Ian’s visit was a wonderful way to start the year and it was amazing for the kids to hear his inspiring story. The kids asked very insightful and thoughtful questions that demonstrated their keen interest in learning all about Ian’s competition experiences.

“Ian’s visit was also a great way to reinforce our commitment to teaching our students that they can achieve anything they want, Ian being an exceptional role model.”

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