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Paralympian bronze medallist Louise Sugden inspires Thatcham pupils in Kennet School visit

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Newbury para-powerlifter Louise Sugden paid a visit to Kennet School in Thatcham this week to speak with students about her success at the Tokyo games this year.

The former Kennet school pupil lifted an impressive 131kg, securing her a powerlifting bronze medal in the woman's 86kg category.

Sugden brought it home as she spoke with pupils about her success and journey as an athlete.

Louise Sugden visits Kennet School, picture Kennet School
Louise Sugden visits Kennet School, picture Kennet School

She said: "There was a photo of one of the kids holding my medal, it’s the kind of smile you just cant fake.

"It was just pure joy and now its one of my favourite photos."

The athlete said it was nice to be able to inspire someone.

She said: "That is why I do what I do.

"It shows them, you just need to put a plan in action, you never know. You can even get a medal."

She went on to say: "I like talking to kids and I know these kids are a little bit harder because of their disabilities.

"What I said to them was find something you love and work hard at it.

"If you love it, it will be easy to do. If you enjoy it, it just makes your life better."

PE teacher and senior mental health lead Owen Joyce is the head of physical disability resource at Kennet School welcomed Louise back to her old school and introduced her to current pupils.

He said: “For half-an-hour she answered question after question.

“The students were nervous at first, then we had to stop them.

“She signed cards as a memento, she posed for photos and she signed a basketball.”

Mr Joyce called the former wheelchair basketball player inspiring and impressive.

He said: “The pupils were inspired by what she said.

“She allowed them to try on her medal and she spoke about how she had determination.

He went on to say: “She said, at 15 she wanted to be the woman’s basketball captain which she eventually did.

“It has made them realise anything is possible if they work hard.”

Kennet school headteacher Gemma Piper said: “It was an honour for our current pupils to be able to celebrate Louise’s incredible achievement and to hear first-hand how the Healthy Me Kennet Values of endeavour, resilience and courage were so core to her success.

“Louise is an inspiration to us all.”

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