Pupils learn how to hit gold standard

Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson visiting Percy Hedley School to with Communication Triathlon to present the 'Get Set' plaque.
Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson visiting Percy Hedley School to with Communication Triathlon to present the 'Get Set' plaque.

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Liz Johnson has called in at Killingworth’s Percy Hedley School to encourage youngsters there to get sport in the act.

Liz Johnson, 100m breaststroke gold medal winner at the 2008 Paralympic Games, visited Percy Hedley School, in Killingworth.

The school was entered into a competition for taking part in the Communication Triathlon, to win a visit from a London 2012 hopeful, and they were one of two schools nationwide to win the prize.

The triathlon – developed between Openreach and communication charity I CAN – was a series of active and fun-filled events for primary schools, intended to boost speaking and listening skills.

Lynn Watson, Percy Hedley headteacher, said: “We were all thrilled to be chosen by Openreach to receive a visit from Liz Johnson.

“For our pupils who have cerebral palsy and speech, language and communication difficulties, to hear from Liz about how she has overcome her difficulties to achieve her best, and a gold medal, was really inspiring.

“The visit was wonderful and our pupils thoroughly enjoyed meeting Liz and showing her their sporting skills.

“All our pupils really enjoyed the Communication Triathlon and we are already looking forward to our next one.”

Liz said, “Sport has been a big part of my life so it is an honour to visit schools that are taking part in a programme linked to London 2012 which aims to help children with their communication skills.

“Having competed in various countries and had the opportunity to meet a range of people, I know how important talking and listening skills are – both in education and in everyday life.

“The Communication Triathlon enables children to develop these skills in an engaging way and I’m sure it will be of great benefit to those participating for years to come.”

Liv Garfield, chief executive at Openreach, said: “Our purpose at Openreach is to enable communication within local communities and we care passionately about that.”

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN chief executive, added: “We are delighted that Percy Hedley School took part in the Communication Triathlon and offer them our congratulations for being chosen to receive a visit from Liz.

“We are thrilled to be working with Openreach and hope that as many schools as possible will take part to improve children’s ‘Communication Fitness’.”