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East of England

The Athlete Mentors available in the East of England region.

We are delighted to offer the expertise of these elite and inspirational Athlete Mentors who each bring years of experience that will benefit your pupils.

Alistair Patrick-Heselton

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 spell 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 in 2006 when playing for Wingate & Finchley. His best friend and ex-professional footballer Simon Patterson died in a car crash in which Alistair was a passenger and also suffered terrible injuries. Following a couple of months in a coma, and being told he may never walk again, he thought his footballing days were over. But 4-years later he was contacted by The FA and given details of CP football for Cerebral Palsy or brain injury sufferers. Since then he has played in the CPISRA World Championships for England (scoring on his debut) and in the Paralympics GB team at London 2012; and he has also turned his hand to speaking and mentoring with great effect. 

Sporting Achievements
  • Paralympic Silver Medallist
Casey Stoney

Casey started playing football at an early age in her street. Aged 10 she was playing with her local boys’ team until age restrictions on mixed football forced her to quit 2-years later. Casey had found a passion and joined a local girls’ team to continue playing. That year she was scouted by Chelsea Ladies Football Club. At 15, Casey was sent for England U16 trials but performed poorly and was rejected. This spurred her on and after selection from her second trial, Casey progressed quickly through the U18s and into the senior team at 18. A disappointing spell of failing to make the first team made Casey even more determined to get match play.

In 2007 she played every minute of the World Cup in China and was named International Player of the Year. Casey’s career continues to sky rocket and she has since reached the milestone of 100 caps for England, as well as captaining her country. Casey achieved the pinnacle of her career so far when she captained Team GB in Women's Football at the London 2012 Olympics, beating Brazil in front of 70,000 at Wembley Stadium. 

Sporting Achievements
  • Olympian
  • England Team Captain
Ellie Koyander

Ellie learnt to ski at 18-months old, with a natural talent, she worked her way up the competition circuit competing locally and nationally until being selected to join the Great British Freestyle Ski team at only 16. Despite living in a country with little natural snow, Ellie always believed she would be a world-class skier and it was her dream to compete at an Olympics.

She has since competed across Europe and North-America at World Cup, World Championship and Winter Olympic events. Competing at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010, at just 18, the youngest member of the GB team, Ellie proved you can achieve anything. After overcoming injury and ups and downs Ellie is training for the Winter Olympics in 2018, where she hopes to fulfil another dream by winning her first medal. Her signature trick is a back flip ‘X’ she competes on the World Cup circuit for TeamGB, achieving seven podiums in the European Cup and finishing second Overall in Europe in 2015 - a first for British Freestyle Skiing.

Sporting Achievements
  • Winter Olympian
  • European Medallist
Fran Williamson

Fran was born with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, a condition which includes shaky/wobbly movements and poor fine-motor skills. With a raft of Paralympic and World medals plus world records under her belt it is hard to believe this Paralympian didn’t learn to swim until she was 12. Fran was introduced to the sport by a fellow student at secondary school who had a similar disability and was excelling at swimming. It took Fran a year to gain the confidence to swim in a 25m pool unaided but having accomplished that goal she entered into her first regional competition.

Fran quickly progressed at the sport, qualifying for national competition and becoming a dominating force within British S3 swimming. She has broken the 100m backstroke short course world record on numerous occasions. Aged 15, Fran won two bronze medals at the European Championships and a year later returned from the World Championships with five medals. In her 10 years of representing GB, Fran racked up an impressive array of medals, including 13 World Championship and 6 Paralympic medals.

Sporting Achievements
  • Paralympian
  • Paralympic Silver Medallist
  • World Championships Gold Medallist
Mike Mullen

Mike was not interested in sport at school and never joined any teams or clubs. At 11 he was inspired to start BMXing after watching a TV show called BMX Beat. Amazed by the excitement of stunts, and the creative possibilities, Mike dreamt of becoming a professional biker. Without parental support, coaches or a team, he learnt to be resourceful and channelled his energy into his dream. Mike has won 2 world championship titles, performing across the world and founding his own BMX Academy. Having experienced the highs and the lows of competition – whether it’s winning or coming back from crashes and injuries – Mike appreciates the experiences his sport has given him. After several years of competitive retirement, Mike went back to the halfpipe in 2013 managing to become the 2014 UK Pro Halfpipe Champion, his proudest achievement to date.

Sporting Achievements
  • UK Halfpipe Pro Champion
  • Former World Master Halfpipe Champion
Rachel Laybourne

Rachel started her sporting career at secondary school, where she tried her hand at all of the sports on offer but it wasn’t until she was in year 10 that volleyball entered her life. Despite never playing before she showed instant talent and began attending the local volleyball club, Sheffield Wednesday. Her first taste of success came when she was selected for the England U18 Squad and she soon realised that it would not be an easy task to manage this alongside her school work. Although Rachel worked really hard at school she was not the most academically gifted student in the class and balancing tough training loads with 3 A-Levels was challenging.

In 2000 the hard work paid off as she progressed to the England senior squad and enrolled at Loughborough University, where she would study Sports Science and participate in the Women’s High Performance Volleyball programme. Rachel went on to represent Great Britain in more than 95 internationals, whilst playing professionally in France and Poland. Her achievements were recognised when she was inducted into the England Volleyball Hall of Fame and competed London 2012. Despite the fact Rachel has now retired from playing professional volleyball she is dedicated to inspiring the next generation so that they can find their sporting success regardless of what this may be.

Sporting Achievements:
  • Olympian
  • Volleyball England Hall of Fame
Theo Spalding McIntosh

Theo grew up in the London's east end, his mother introduced him to judo at just 6-years-old in an attempt to find something for him to focus on and keep him out of trouble. He was not instantly successful but found his feet as a teenager when he joined Willesden Judo Club. Here he won his first National Championship, aged 15 and knew that he would be able to take this passion further. Theo has been involved in judo for the past 20-years with 10 spent competing at the highest level for Great Britain. During this time, he travelled across the world, winning 5 more British Championships, 2 Commonwealth medals and achieving success at both the World and European Cups. However these great moments were not without their challenges and obstacles, leaving the city he grew up in and facing the mortality of those closest to him, his journey has been a rollercoaster of emotion and determination filled with sprinkles of success. 

Sporting Achievements
  • European Open Bronze Medallist
  • British Champion
  • Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist