Paralympian Alistair Patrick-Heselton visited Emerson Valley School earlier today.
He led a sports circuit for each class in the school hall and then gave an extremely motivational and inspiring speech to the whole school and staff, encouraging everyone to never give up and to reach for the stars.
Alistair was highly rated as a young footballer, playing for Wycombe Wanderers before being spotted by QPR – where he starred for the club’s Under U17, U19s and reserves.
He also spent a time on loan at Oldham Athletic before a cruciate ligament injury halted his progress and saw him pursue a career in Quantity Surveying instead, playing semi-professional for Northwood at the same time.
Further spells at Helmond Sport in Holland and Bishops Stortford followed before another life-defining moment came in 2006 when playing for Wingate & Finchley.
Alistair and his best friend, ex professional footballer Simon Patterson were involved in a car crash.
Simon died and Alistair suffered terrible injuries.
He spent two months in a coma before being told he might never walk again.
He thought his footballing days were over.
But four years later he was contacted by The FA and given details of CP football for Cerebral Palsy or brain injury sufferers.
Since then Alistair has played in the CPISRA World Championships for England (scoring on his debut) and in the Paralympics GB team at London 2012.
He has also turned his hand to speaking and mentoring with great effect.
“I’m eager to make an impact on the lives of everyone the Youth Sport Trust works with,” Alistair said.
“Being able to talk about my experiences and share them with the next generation is so important to me; and this opportunity will allow me to do it effectively. I really couldn’t be happier.”
Kelly Emmett, sports co-ordinator at the school said: “We cannot thank Alistair enough for giving up his time to visit our school and give us all memories that will stay with us forever.”