'Ultimate triathlete' James Ketchell tells Speenhamland School pupils about his adventures rowing the Atlantic and climbing Mount Everest
A global adventurer, who has rowed, climbed and cycled his way around the world, has been inspiring pupils at a Newbury school.
James Ketchell - who is the only person to have ever completed the ‘ultimate triathlon’ of rowing the Atlantic, climbing Mt Everest and then cycling around the world – shared his exciting stories of adventure and achievement with the young people at Speenhamland School.
He visited the school last week where he wowed the youngsters with his tales of rowing solo across the Atlantic, cycling around the world on a second-hand bicycle, as well as scaling to the top of Mt Everest, before sharing the next stages of his future adventures too.
Headteacher at the school Julie Lewry said: “Having James Ketchell in to talk to all of our children was an amazing experience.
“Through captivating stories of his adventures around the world, he encompassed our school values and taught the children about the importance of working hard to achieve their goals.
“From Foundation stage to Year 6, all the pupils were enthralled by the presentation and left the hall feeling truly inspired.”
The pupils were encouraged to recognise the school values - respect, responsibility, risk-taking, resilience and resourcefulness - in Mr Ketchell and could see how these values could help them to achieve any goal.
Mr Ketchell told the children that “the hardest part is believing you can do it”.
“Doors of opportunity will naturally open when you work hard,” he added. “Break things into small steps - a little bit every day makes the big things happen.”
One youngster, Oscar, said: "James Ketchell has inspired me to never give up on my dreams no matter what anyone else says."
Fellow pupil Ella added: "From his talk, James has encouraged me to be more of a risk-taker, which is something that I find tricky, but I will keep trying."
And pupil Brooke said she was inspired by his stories of kindness from around the world.
"He taught me to be kind to others because they will treat you the same way," she added.
Mr Ketchell completed his ‘ultimate triathlon’ feat on February 1, 2014 – just seven years after a serious motorcycle accident left him with broken legs and the prognosis that he would be unlikely to walk again.
In 2019 he flew an open cockpit gyroplane around the world – setting a Guinness Word Record.