Yorkshire and Humber
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.
Athlete Mentor profile coming soon
Ben began his career at the age of 15 and was the kind of student at school who could always be found in the PE office; so when an invite came to try volleyball he was there like a shot. Since that point Ben has never looked back, having found a dynamic, challenging sport that suited him. The announcement in 2005 that London was to be the host city of the Olympics was one of the decisions that changed the landscape of his career that and when the Great Britain Volleyball team was formed. He had already turned professional, aged 17, and become an England international, by the time the Olympics arrived he was Great Britain captain.
These days Ben is back in the UK having been away for seven years playing professionally in Spain, Holland, Belgium and Sweden. Since retiring from playing Ben has begun on the path of becoming a coach, having completed his FIVB International Level II coaching.
- Great Britain Captain
Dermot is a former international heavyweight boxer. As a late starter in his sport, he made rapid progress, winning numerous titles as an amateur before becoming a professional fighter and signing with the country’s leading manager and promoter Frank Warren. Although he didn’t win a professional title he holds victories over British, Commonwealth and European Champions, the most significant of which was his victory over the British Champion that took just 70 seconds to earn. In his 5-year career as a professional Dermot boxed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, and was regularly employed as a sparring partner by Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis, amongst others.
As a child Dermot engaged in all manner of sports, enjoying them all. Once he found boxing, however, he was hooked. He has no doubt that boxing provided him with a purpose and direction at a time in his life when he needed it the most. His motto is: ‘It is better to try and fail, than to fail to try’.
- Victories over British, Commonwealth & European Champions
Jenny competed on the Professional Badminton World Circuit for 10 years, reaching number 5 in the World Rankings and winning 42 senior international caps – playing both mixed and ladies doubles. She has competed in 4 World and European Championships and the 2010 Commonwealth Games , winning Silver and Bronze medals and also 2 European Silver and Bronze medals. In addition she was crowned National Champion 5 times and won 13 international titles. As her love and determination for the sport grew it became increasingly harder to keep her off the badminton court. At 11 Jenny received her first call-up to play for the England Under 13s team– the start of a 7 year career that saw her competing all over the world.
She joined the Great Britain Squad and made her first England senior debut as part of the National Uber Cup team at 18, making her one of the youngest players to represent her country at senior level. But underneath the success, Jenny was suffering with a secret battle throughout her sporting career. From a young age she became very body conscious heightened by being in professional sport and began to suffer with Bulimia and after years of battling with a mental illness she decided to set up her own charity to support people suffering and their families.
- Commonwealth Silver & Bronze Medallist
- European Silver & Bronze Medallist
Nicola was a leading member of the Great Britain Bobsleigh team from 2001 until 2011, and regularly pushed the barriers in terms of what was expected from a competitor living in a non-Alpine nation. She was the British number 1 driver for over 10 years and competed in 3 Winter Olympics, leading GB to their best ever result by finishing 9th at the Turin Olympic Games. At the 2005 World Championships Nicola won a silver medal, marking Great Britain’s first in over 40 years. In 2009 she eclipsed this, making history by becoming the first British female ever to win the World Championships.
Prior to competing in Bobsleigh Nicola was a top ranked heptathlete, representing Great Britain for over 8 years at a variety of European and World level competitions. Growing up, Nicola struggled to fit in at school, feeling like an outsider and was bullied throughout much of her school life. Her determination to defeat the bullies has helped her to become both the athlete, and the person, she is today.
- Triple Olympian
- World Champion
Paul is a star of Rugby League. In a career spanning 17 years, prop forward Paul represented England and Great Britain, playing over 450 first grade games for teams including Sheffield Eagles, Halifax, Hull and Wakefield. Academically challenged, Paul found sport to be the only school subject he enjoyed. Introduced to rugby at 11, he wasn’t as naturally gifted as some of his teammates and had to train hard to improve and compete with more talented players, but his passion and commitment shone through. Paul didn’t become a full time sportsman overnight.
He signed up with Sheffield Eagles aged 19 as a part-time player, he then became a full time school coach, whilst still training in the evenings with Sheffield Eagles. In 1996 when Rugby Super League was formed, Paul was given the opportunity to be a full time professional rugby player. In 1998 he led his team to a Challenge Cup win – finally achieving a lifelong goal; a huge achievement for someone who describes himself as a player with limited skill and ability.
- World Cup Finalist
- Challenge Cup Winner
Rachael is a World Thai-Boxing champion. Having only started Thai-Boxing in 2000, her hard work and determination paid off when, in 2006, she topped the Women’s Thai-boxing world rankings in 2 weight categories (50kg and 52kg). Rachel has also taken 2 British titles – both by knockout – and a European title. Rachael became the first European Woman to compete in traditional bare-knuckle Thai-Boxing in Thailand and the first woman to fight under Full Muay-Thai Rules in the UK. Throughout her Thai-boxing career she has had to overcome prejudice from people who do not believe women should compete in contact sports. Her success and perseverance has helped her to improve the profile and opportunities for female Thai-boxers. Following a knee injury, Rachael made the switch from Thai-boxing to Boxing, taking silver at the National Championships in her first season.
- ABA England Boxing Silver Medallist
- World Thai Boxing Champion