Paralympic winner Richard Whitehead visits Mansfield school

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Manor students were left starstruck after a surprise visit from Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead.

Richard (37), chose to visit The Manor Academy in Mansfield Woodhouse after launching a twitter campaign asking for Nottingham students to support him on the ITV show, Splash.

Receiving so many tweets from The Manor Academy students, Richard thought it was only fair to repay them in the form of a surprise visit to the school.

Richard presented two assemblies in the morning where his explained his circumstances, challenges and his success. He explained to the students how, although being a marathon runner at heart, he had to turn to sprinting in 2012 to compete at the London 2012 Paralympics - where he won the gold medal in the 200m T42 Athletics event with a world record time of 24.38 seconds.

Richard said: “It’s great to be able to share my success - I won a gold medal and to put it away in a cupboard would be a waste, I want to use it to inspire and motivate others.”

Students gawped in amazement as Richard told them of his 1000mile run in 2013 from John O’Groats to Land’s End, raising almost half a million pounds for charity. Both staff and students were eager to ask the Paralympic hero questions, ranging from how much his prosthetic legs cost to whether or not he can ride a bike.

Headteacher at The Manor Academy, Jonathon Hickman said: “Richard was incredibly approachable, thoughtful and sincere. He inspired our students and it was a real highlight to have him at the Academy. I hope he will visit us again.”

Richard will be appearing on ITV’s Splash on Saturday at 7.30pm competing in the second semi-final against former Rugby Union player Austin Healey, TV Presenter Anna Williamson and TOWIE star Dan Osbourne.