It was our privilege to welcome Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE and Lottie to school on Friday 14th September. Lord Holmes is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, winning a total of 9 golds, 5 silvers and 1 bronze. He was also Director of Paralympic Integration, responsible for the organisation of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Lord Holmes spoke to Year 10 in assembly, telling them about how at the age of 14 he unexpectedly went blind overnight and how despite that he held on to his dreams of academic success and representing Britain at sport. He shared with us the challenges he had to overcome and his approach to doing it.
As well as going on to study at Cambridge, Lord Holmes won nine gold medals, including the record six gold medals at a single Paralympics. He gained a string of World and European titles, broke 35 world records and was awarded an MBE for services to British sport at the age of 20. He was member of the Great Britain swimming team for seventeen years and captain for five.
Lord Holmes described the help and support he received from family, friends, coaches, teachers and many others along the way. He introduced us to his Labrador, Lottie, who has been with him for 7 years and holds the distinction of being the first guide dog in the House of Lords.
Students and staff were equally enthralled with his talk, and he was kind enough to answer the many questions his fascinated audience wanted to ask. We have all gone away from the assembly truly inspired – thank you Lord Holmes (and Lottie).