Posted: Fri 5th Jul 2019

Paralympic gold medallist inspires Holywell aviation pupils

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 5th, 2019

Paralympic champion Andy Lewis MBE was guest of honour at a graduation ceremony for high-flying school pupils from Ysgol Treffynnon in Holywell last night. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Andy, who won Gold in the men’s PT2 para-triathlon in Rio three years ago, joined proud parents, teachers and mentors to celebrate the achievements of the 14 students as they graduated from their Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge programme. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Throughout the year, the Year 9 students have been working alongside Airbus mentors learning about aviation and gaining first-hand experience of the aerospace industry. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Last month they each took to the skies for a flying lesson where they were handed the controls of a Piper Cherokee light aircraft. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


The cohort also achieve a nationally recognised qualification for their efforts, which they received at yesterday’s graduation ceremony. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Andy, 36, who is on sabbatical from Airbus to allow him to train full time, was forced to have his right leg amputated at the knee when he was 22-years-old following a motorbike accident some years earlier. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The European and World para-triathlon champion said: “Winning the Paralympic triathlon in Rio was a very proud moment for me and helped me understand my full potential, not just in sport but in life generally. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


It certainly raised my profile in the sport and made me realise how much I enjoy motivating others, especially children. I’ve started a business where I now mentor children all across the UK, whether at home, school or the gym. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


It’s really important to me, which is why I was delighted to be invited by Airbus to the Flying Challenge graduation ceremony and speak to the pupils about their goals and aspirations.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Vicky Bond, Science Technician at Ysgol Treffynnon, has been working with the students throughout the programme. She said: “The Airbus Flying Challenge programme is an amazing opportunity for any student. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They have been taught many skills and gained some by themselves. I have seen very quiet students gain confidence, while others have shown an artistic side that has not been evident before. They have all grown in their thinking and have worked well as a team. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

There has been a tremendous amount of input from the Airbus mentors that have been involved this year, and I have seen them inspire the students to want more out of life. The whole programme is inspirational and we feel privileged to have been a part of it. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


I would also like to thank Reaching Wider and Flintshire County Council for their support with transport during the programme.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Student Emily Slater said: “During this programme I have gained multiple skills such as confidence, teamwork, oracy and many more. Overall, I have enjoyed everything and would not change a thing. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

I have had an amazing experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of the Airbus Flying Challenge.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Pupil Lewis Williams added: “I have gained a lot of confidence whilst being on the programme and I really enjoyed the flying day.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The ceremony also welcomed the school’s next cohort of Flying Challenge students, who have been specially selected for a unique and potentially life-changing opportunity to work alongside Airbus mentors and develop their love of learning. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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