Team GB member and Olympic Bronze Medallist Joel Fearon visits pupils at Harleston Primary Academy
Pupils at Harleston Primary Academy were left “hanging on every word’ of Olympic bronze medallist Joel Fearon during his visit to the school this week.
The fifth fastest Briton of all time spent the entire day at the primary school on Wednesday, heading PE lessons and delivering motivational speeches about how students can aspire to follow in his footsteps.
Assistant headteacher Dan Stagg, who had arranged the visit after working with Fearon at a previous school, said that students were starstruck in the presence of the athlete, who also represents Great Britain’s bobsleigh team, picking up a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“He was an absolute inspiration to the children,” said Mr Stagg. “They could not believe they had the opportunity to meet an Olympian.
“Joel has been part of some work I have done in previous schools, coming in to deliver speeches and inspire children.
“He’s really good at what he does and has a special way with children and adults alike.
“He’s from a similar background to the children we have here, and he was talking to them about perseverance and how things haven’t always been straightforward for him.
“He let them know that everybody is special and everybody is unique, and that you should always believe in yourself.
“Things don’t always go right, as Joel knows, but you have to persevere.
“It was just great to see every single child inspired and smiling, hanging on his every word.”
Fearon, 33, added: “It was a privilege spending quality time with the students at Harleston Church of England Primary Academy.
“I’m currently one of the fastest hundred-meter sprinters in British history, also one of a handful of athletes to have had the privilege of bringing home a Winter Olympic medal and the world’s only sub-10-second sprinter to compete in a Winter Olympics.
“More importantly, what I really am is just a man, who, as a young boy, had a love for sports and a dream to sprint amongst the greats.”
Richard Cranmer, CEO of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust, which runs Harleston Primary Academy, added: “Days when we have inspirational people, such as Joel Fearon, spending quality time with our students are days that they will remember for a very long time.”
The visit marks the start of what Mr Stagg hopes will be a long-standing relationship between Fearon and the pupils at Harleston Primary Academy in School Lane.
“We will be working with him throughout the academic year and beyond,” added Mr Stagg.
“He will be taking on a mentoring role within the school, spending time with children in small groups and on a one-to-one basis.”
Fearon’s next visit will not take place until the spring as he will be busy representing Team GB at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
He has promised to host a video call with the students while at the games, giving them an exclusive tour of the Olympic village, where he will be staying.