'Let's talk gold medals'
PARALYMPIAN gold medalist Lee Pearson was quizzed by school children in a special question and answer session.
Dozens of youngsters had a chance to speak to the star – who is the most successful equestrian rider in Paralympic history – during the event in Leek.
Schools across the area were invited to the headquarters of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for the event, with two children from each having the chance to meet the sportsman, have their photograph taken with him, and even try on some of his 10 gold medals.
Among his achievements, the 38-year-old scooped a gold, silver and bronze medal at this year's Paralympics in London.
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Lee, who lives in Bagnall, said: "It went really well. It was embarrassing listening to people say nice things about me but when we got into the session with the kids, it was great.
"Initially, I was nervous wondering what the children were going to ask because they have no barriers.
"This is a great idea because it brings everyone together. I get so many requests and it wouldn't be fair if I visited one school but not another."
Lee was born with arthrogryposis, which meant his muscles never grew properly, and during the session, he told students how he found it difficult to take part in sports when he was younger, as facilities were limited.
He said: "It is necessary to give children access to me rather than give a speech. This sports year has inspired so many people and we can't let that inspiration die. There has to be opportunities for people to take part in sport."
Holly Clarke, aged 10, from St Luke's Primary School, Endon, said: "I liked listening to everyone's questions and finding out all about Lee. I had seen him in the Paralympics on television. He seems like a really nice person. This has inspired me more to try my best for everything I do."
Holy's fellow student Rhys Davies, aged 10, said: "I enjoyed getting to know Lee a bit more. I asked him what emotions he felt when he got a gold medal and he said he was very happy."'
Council leader Sybil Ralphs said: "It was a fantastic opportunity for all these young people here today to see a genuine role model. He is an inspiration to all young people and someone they can look up to. I have known him since the start of his career and he deserves every single one of those medals."