Wednesday, 9th November 2016
FORMER pupil overcomes adversity to achieve Paralympic glory.
STUDENTS were given some golden advice from a former pupil who overcame adversity to achieve Paralympic glory.
Laurence Whiteley returned to his home town to inspire children from Northallerton School & Sixth Form College showing them the Rio gold medal he secured in rowing.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was just 14, a condition that left one of his legs virtually useless.
But Laurence took up rowing in 2011, developed into an elite athlete and was selected for Team GB in 2013.
This year he helped row to gold with Lauren Rowles in the trunk-arms mixed double sculls at the Rio Paralympics and silver in the World Championships.
He told students: “When we crossed the line in first position in Rio, my first thought was what a relief, my second was how much this was a win for myself, my teammates, our families and the whole nation.
“We have to make sacrifices. We train all year round, in the snow and the rain. We give up seeing friends and going out, but when you win a medal like this, it has all been worthwhile.”
He urged students to believe in themselves. “Whatever you want to achieve in life you are capable of achieving,” he said.
Laurence also took questions from students about his life and being part of the elite sporting world.
Assistant principal Melodie Websdale said: “Laurence’s words have really resonated with our students who couldn’t fail to be inspired by his story. We all have challenges to overcome in life but Laurence shows just how much can be achieved with the right mind set.”