Paralympics star, Aaron Phipps, inspires pupils at Robert Sandilands School with his stories of perseverance and courage
A Paralympian has spent the day inspiring the next generation with his tales of perseverance and courage.
Aaron Phipps was a member of the GB wheelchair rugby squad that won the country’s first Paralympic team gold in Tokyo 2020.
He joined pupils at Newbury’s Robert Sandilands School for a whole school day, where he inspired them and supported their engagement with physical education and personal challenges.
“My main message for any of the children I meet in schools is around perseverance and working hard,” he said.
“I like to reinforce that anything is achievable if you work hard and make positive choices.”
Mr Phipps was just 15 when, in 1999, he contracted meningitis C. It developed into meningococcal sepsis and both his legs had to be amputated below the knee, along with most of his fingers.
But he has never let it hold him back and in 2016 he became the first disabled person to scale Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted.
He has also raised more than £250k for charities and finished fourth UK male in the London Marathon wheelchair race. He was appointed an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours.
Headteacher at Robert Sandilands, Libby Bucknell, said: “Aaron was truly inspirational, he spoke to the children about his experiences with truth and realism – they were enthralled.
“Seeing examples of how determination and perseverance pays off was highly motivating. What role model!”
Year 6 pupil, Isabella Stacey, said: “I really enjoyed Aaron coming to visit us in school. I liked it when he told us about how he climbed Kilimanjaro which was a huge challenge.
“We were all inspired.”
Year 1 pupil Sanvi Dixit added: “I loved it when he showed us his gold medal. I have never seen a gold medal before.”
The day was organised by teacher and PE coordinator, Eve Burke.
She said: “Aaron’s epic tales of determination did indeed inspire our pupils as well as our staff team.
“It was a privilege to watch the children’s reaction when he shared his gold medal.”