As part of ‘Dare to be different’ week pupils in years 6, 7 and 8, parents and staffreceived an inspirational talk from Mr John Willis, a lawyer and founder of the charity Power2Inspire. John was born without fully formed arms or legs and has achieved a phenomenal amount in spite of his physical challenges.
Throughout the afternoon John shared some anecdotal stories about living with his disability, for example, when his daughter was little, just aged 7, she asked ‘”Daddy, what do you want to do when you grow up?” By this stage in his life John had a law degree from Cambridge University, practised as a litigator and had overseen the redevelopment of a village – he had held many senior positions, so was puzzled by the question. So John asked his daughter how old she thought he was. “mmm well, I am 7 and you are a bit taller than me, so ….8, I think you are 8!”
Nothing has stopped John from achieving his goals, in 2013 he founded Powere2Inspire an organisation that promotes a society where everyone has the opportunityto participate in sport, regardless of body type, age, disability, religion or ethnicity and can do so together. To promote this endeavour, in the run up to the Rio Olympics, he took up the challenge of trying out all 34 Paralympic and Olympic sports.
John brought with him some of the sporting equipment that has been adapted for him and during the presentation the children helped him demonstrate how he uses it. There was a badminton racket, shotput, hockey stick, paddle, fencing sword and cross bow, to name just a few. The children then asked some brilliant questions such as: What do you find most difficult about everyday life?, Can you cook?, How do you clean your teeth?
It was a truly inspirational afternoon and perhaps in the future those present might consider having a go at something they thought they couldn’t do and will try just that little bit harder when they are faced with a difficult challenge.