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.
Aaron was able bodied for most of his youth and took a keen interest in extreme sports such as rollerblading, skateboarding and BMX riding. However, in January 1999, Aaron contracted Meningitis C. As a result, he had both legs and most of his fingers amputated in March of the same year. In 2007 Aaron began participating in wheelchair races and completed the Totton 10km race to raise money for a meningitis charity. He went on to complete 2 London Marathons in 2008 and 2009.
Aaron was persuaded to take up Wheelchair Rugby. He was soon attending training sessions with the Great Britain squad and due to the high levels of fitness, Aaron was included in the 2009 European Championship Squad, where they finished fourth. Aaron’s biggest achievement to date is winning silver at the 2011 GB Cup and 2011 European Championships in Switzerland. Aaron was a key figure in the Wheelchair Rugby team at London 2012, scoring over half the team’s points. In May 2016, Aaron completed the first disability unassisted Kilimanjaro Climb. It took him six days to reach the summit, using a specially adapted wheelchair and even crawled parts of it on his hands and knees when he suffered problems with the chair.
- European Championships Silver Medallist
Alex is a member of the England and Great Britain women's field hockey teams and is one of the youngest ever England internationals, having made her senior debut at just 16 years of age, whilst still at school. Alex is a former BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year nominee and has achieved 253 caps (and counting). She has competed successfully in many high profile events, taking home a bronze medal at the London 2012, a silver medal in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and becoming European Champion in 2015. Her most successful period to date came between 2015 and 2016 when she reached the pinnacle of her sport with England and Great Britain. In September 2015, England were crowned EuroHockey Champions when they defeated the Netherlands in the final, with Alex winning Player of the Tournament.
Then, she won gold with Team GB when the women’s hockey team made history by beating the Netherlands once more in a tense penalty shootout at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Alex had another excellent tournament which included 2 goals in the semi-final victory against New Zealand. She found her love for the sport whilst at school, where it taught her how to successfully balance schoolwork and her other commitments. Despite her achievements, the journey to success has seldom been easy; Alex has been plagued by injuries throughout her career, but has fought back every time. She has a huge passion for sport and life and truly believes that with hard work, energy and belief everyone can achieve their dreams.
- Double Olympian
- Olympic Gold and Bronze Medallist
- Commonwealth Games & European Medallist
After refusing to be left behind, Nolli was taken to the local rugby club with her two older brothers from the age of just four - and has not looked back since! Nolli played rugby with the boys until she was 12 years old, when RFU rules meant she had to find a girls team. After playing for the South West regional U16s squad, Nolli was propelled into senior rugby at the age of 15 when selected for the England Senior Academy and then the England ‘A’ squad. She went on to receive her first international cap at 18 and became England’s youngest-ever capped player.
Nolli has played both International 15s and Sevens for England over the past decade. Nolli achieved one of her childhood dreams in 2014, winning the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup, scoring a try in the final against Canada. She also became an Olympian when Rugby Sevens took to the big stage at the Rio 2016 Olympics, with Team GB reaching the bronze medal match.
- World Cup Winner
Gillian began rowing at the age of 13 when she was still at school and quickly became hooked, becoming national champion a year after she had taken up the sport. By 18, Gillian had been invited to train with the senior GB team and was selected to race at the Barcelona Olympic Games where she finished eighth. This early taste of Olympic rowing inspired Gillian to train for a further eight years when in 2000 she was part of the history-making crew that won Team GB’s first ever women’s Olympic rowing medal during the Sydney Olympics. Gillian is still an active rower and in 2015/16 she and her crew mates won the Head of the Charles Regatta – America’s most famous long-distance time-trial race.
- Olympic Silver Medallist
- World Rowing Championships Gold & Silver Medallist
Heather’s career has taken her through plenty of twists and turns over the years. Starting out in rugby at the age of 16, she joined Britain’s women’s bobsleigh team in 2006, when Heather found herself faced with an opportunity that left her with big decisions to make. After a 3-year sabbatical in bobsleigh Heather returned to the rugby playing field to follow her dream of playing the game internationally. She went on to play for the England 7s in the 2009 World Cup squad, followed by the 2010 15s Rugby World Cup. Heather competes internationally for 7s and 15s, and in 2014 was part of the winning IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup squad that beat Canada in the final in France. After this, she set her sights on making it to the Rio 2016 Olympics where rugby sevens was to be staged for the first time. She achieved this goal and played a pivotal role in Team GB reaching the Bronze medal match when they were defeated by the formidable New Zealand.
- World Cup Winner
Ian was born with childhood eye cancer (retinoblastoma) and lost his left eye and most of the sight in his right. After many operations Ian was left with a facial disfigurement and had to wear thick glasses. At the age of seven, Ian’s self esteem was low and he was often teased at school about his appearance. His parents introduced him to Judo in order to help boost his confidence. Within three months of taking up the sport he had an improved sense of self-belief and was a much more determined individual. Although not immediately talented at Judo, Ian worked very hard in training and had a real passion to succeed. After two years he won his first medal. His determination and perseverance paid off and he received his first international selection in 1989 whilst still in his last year at secondary school.
He competed at the European Visually Impaired Championships, and for Ian this was a dream come true and the beginning of his international sporting career. He went on to win two Paralympic medals, 5 World Championships medals and four European Championships. Ian was hoping to represent Paralympics GB at his 6th Games in London but an injury forced him into early retirement in 2011 after a 22 year international career. As one of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympic Judoka, Ian was a torchbearer and opening ceremony performer for London 2012.
- Paralympic Silver Medallist
Lesley took up athletics when her older brother noticed she could run faster than other girls at school, soon afterwards she joined her local athletics club. At just 13 Lesley won her first 200m England junior international race and at 16 was selected to compete for the senior international team. As a junior athlete she won a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games (200m) and was English Schools Champion and National Junior Champion 3 times.
At senior level she ran the second fastest time in history over 600 yards, setting a British and European record. Sport played an enormous role in Lesley’s personal development. Raised in Ghana, Lesley’s multi-cultural background meant she felt a sense of isolation when she came back to England as she could not speak the language. She experienced bullying, prejudice, body image issues and low self-esteem as a young child and used sports to channel her energy, strengths and talents on and off the track into developing a fighting spirit to succeed.Lesley continues to train and compete at top level and became World Masters Indoor 400m champion in Budapest in 2014, also helping the GB team set a world record in the Over-35s 4x200m relay.
- World Masters Champion
- Multiple Indoor Champion
- British Champion
Olympian, World Champion rower and currently a triathlete, Toby discovered sport as an outlet where he could focus and excel, despite suffering severe dyslexia. Aged 18, Toby was invited to train in Henley on Thames. He discovered that commitment and drive could see him pursue a career in rowing despite not being naturally talented at the sport, his perseverance paid off and Toby was selected for Team GB. In 1998 Toby suffered a major career setback, suffering a prolapsed disc in his spine. He was told he would never row again. Determined to return to the sport, Toby pushed through rehabilitation and learned to row in a new posture to protect his back. On returning to the British team in 1999, Toby contracted glandular fever, and missed that year’s World Championships.
He considered retiring but motivated by his previous sporting success, Toby returned to the British team in time for the Sydney Olympic Games, becoming World Champion in 2000 and 2001. Toby went on to represent Great Britain at the 2004 Olympics and compete in numerous World Championships before retiring from rowing in 2008. Missing competition, Toby returned to the international stage in Triathlon and in 2013 took part in the European and World Championships and also became National Champion in his age group. He has continued to push himself by participating in Ironman triathlon events and competed at the European Triathlon Championships in 2016.
- Rowing World Champion & Olympian
- Triathlon National Champion
- Competed in Ironman 2014 & 2015