Team GP Paralympian inspires students at Wilsthorpe Community School

Published on: Thursday, 14th February 2019

A former professional footballer told students at Wilsthorpe Community School how he survived an horrific car crash and went on to become a Team GB Paralympian.

Alistair Patrick-Heselton was 23-years-old when he was thrown out of the windscreen of a car being driven by his friend when it hit barriers on the A40 in London in 2006.

His friend died in the crash and Alistair landed on his head in the road, fracturing his skull and leaving him in a coma.

Miraculously he recovered and made his Team GB debut in 2011 before playing a crucial role in the lead up to the 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup final. He also went on to represent Team GB in the Paralympic Games.

Alistair now acts as a mentor, inspiring schoolchildren and he visited Wilsthorpe Community School, in Long Eaton, over two days as part of the Youth Sport Trust’s Raising Aspiration, Increasing Resilience programme.

The sessions were organised by Erewash School Sport Partnership and funded by Active Derbyshire.

During the workshops, Alistair worked with a group of 20 students and focused on enabling them to support their peers, building capacity and a culture of aspiration and resilience.

He helped them to develop a vision of their future potential in order to raise their aspirations and discussed the skills they need to overcome challenges and setbacks.

Rhian Lilley, ESSP strategic development manager, said working with Alastair was a fantastic opportunity for the Wilsthorpe students.  She said: “Hopefully the students involved were inspired by Alastair’s own story which is truly inspirational. His focus was to help these students believe in themselves and fuel their own ambitions as well as equipping them with skills that they can use when they need to be resilient and bounce back from situations that can happen in every day life.”

Steven Mellors, school sports co-ordinator at Wilsthorpe, said the students really benefited from the sessions.  He said: “When Alastair told his story he immediately grabbed the students’ attention and they were shocked when he told them about the car crash. His fight back has inspired them and it was great to see them so engaged and learning vital skills which will benefit them throughout their lives.”

Alastair said: “It’s all about raising their aspirations and letting them know that it’s ok to want a bit more. I also wanted to see them thinking outside the box and watch how they work as a team because it’s important that they are able to work with their peers.”

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