On Thursday 10th January, as part of the RMS Edge Sixth Form Lecture series, Year 12 had a visit from a truly inspirational speaker called John Willis.

John was born quadriplegic, but he has never let this disability stand in the way of him achieving his goals. When John was a child, his parents were told that he couldn’t take O Levels because he attended a school for people with disabilities. Thankfully, his parents realised that ‘their son had a brain’ and did not accept this judgement, moving him to another school where he was supported to take his O Levels.

This was only the start of an impressive academic career, which eventually led to John graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Law. He then went on to qualify as a solicitor and practised as a litigator for 12 years.

John’s dedication and resilience were truly an inspiration for all of us to hear. Since founding the charity Power2Inspire, John has travelled around the country encouraging young people with a variety of different disabilities to persevere with the sports they love.

Power2Inspire was set up three years ago; as a charity it promotes sport for all and runs a variety of events, including Power House Games, which are bespoke sports days using adapted and inclusive games and sports. The thinking behind the charity is that John wants to ensure that disabled people are not excluded from sport, and to create “a world where everyone has the opportunity to participate in sport, regardless of body type, age, disability, religion or ethnicity, and can do so together”.

John himself has tried out many sports and it was fascinating to see all the specially adapted kit that he has used to enable this. In 2016, in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, John had a go at all 34 Olympic and Paralympic sports in his own Road2Rio. You can watch the video below.

John’s talk has made us all realise that you should not take the easy things in life for granted; never stop trying to achieve your goals, just because someone has told you it’s impossible – because it is if you believe them!

Thank you so much to John for coming to talk to us, and to Mrs Freeman and Mrs Roberts for organising the talk. 

Katie (Year 12)