Paralympian inspires Letchworth students at achievement assembly

PUBLISHED: 12:02 18 May 2019

Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps with (L-R) head of sixth form Ed Dixon, year 13 and 11 pupils and head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps with (L-R) head of sixth form Ed Dixon, year 13 and 11 pupils and head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

British wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps visited students at a Letchworth school on Friday to talk about overcoming challenges.

Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps visits year 11 and 13 pupils at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOOParalympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps visits year 11 and 13 pupils at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

Year 11 and 13 students at Fearnhill School were visited by the Paralympian as part of their Celebration of Achievement event.

Aaron spoke to the students about his own personal journey and gave them advice on how to achieve and overcome challenges.

Headteacher Liz Ellis said: "It is a huge privilege and pleasure to welcome Aaron to Fearnhill.

"His determination and achievements at the highest international level in sport, as well as his personal approach to overcoming adversity and challenges are an inspiration to all of us."

Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps visits year 11 and 13 pupils at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOOParalympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps visits year 11 and 13 pupils at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

Aaron gave an assembly where he told students, parents and teachers his story of getting Meningitis C at the age of 15, losing his legs and the ends of his fingers.

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He spent a year in hospital recovering and learn how to cope. Since then, he has raised more than £250,000 for charity and taken on many challenges, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro unaided.

Aaron has been identified as one of the top 100 most influential people in the UK with a disability, by Shaw Trusts Disability Power 100.

Fearnhill School head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOOFearnhill School head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

A school spokeswoman said: "His incredibly inspirational, engaging and humorous talk was not just about his time in hospital, but the time after about overcoming adversity, working hard and reaching the top of not just his sport, but also Mount Kilimanjaro!

"He showed a moving film of him literally crawling up the mountain through mud on his hands and knees.

"On reaching the top, he leaned forward, sobbing, to touch the sign. The exhaustion and reality of what he had just achieved was overwhelming."

Following the presentation, Aaron handed out certificates to students and then joined them and their parents for afternoon tea.

Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps with (L-R) head of sixth form Ed Dixon, year 13 and 11 pupils and head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOOParalympian wheelchair rugby player Aaron Phipps with (L-R) head of sixth form Ed Dixon, year 13 and 11 pupils and head Liz Ellis at Fearnhill School celebration of achievement prize giving. Picture: DANNY LOO

Aaron said: "It was a privilege to visit Fearnhill. I felt humbled by the achievements of the students and it was great to talk to the parents and staff as well."

Aaron represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as part of the wheelchair rugby team, and is hoping to do the same in Tokyo next summer. For more information, go to aaronphipps.com.

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