Paralympian pays 'inspiring' visit to St Mary's

Bronze medallist creates buzz at Astley school

St Mary's Catholic High School in Astley welcomed an "inspiring" Paralympian when wheelchair racer Andrew Small came to speak to pupils earlier this term.

The Nantwich-based athlete made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games, earning a bronze medal in the T33 100m, and he took time out from preparing for this summer's World Para Athletics Championships in London to visit St Mary's on 26 January.

The 24-year-old was promoting a competition among six to 15-year-olds to design mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

"Anything you can do to inspire young people is worthwhile," he said. "I went to watch the Paralympic Games in 2012 and saw Hannah Cockroft winning a gold medal – those moments inspired me to take up the sport. I hope these students will be encouraged to come and watch us in London this summer and be inspired like I was."

James Horman, head of PE and health at St Mary's, said: "We followed the Paralympic Games in Rio last summer closely and to have a medallist local to the school come in and talk to the children was inspiring. Andrew's visit has definitely created a buzz and we wish him all the best for 2017 and look forward to hopefully watching him in London."

The World Para Athletics Championships run from 14–23 July at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Any schools wishing to get involved should visit www.london2017athletics.com/schools. For information about tailored school packages, visit www.sportexperiences.co.uk.