Sir Ben's talk helps inspire students to dream big and go far

MY ONLY limitation is my ambition.

Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 6:04 am
Maxim Turner tries on a helmet assisted by Sir Ben Ainslie Picture: Malcolm Wells (180122-5419)

That is the theme of the week for primary pupils at Mayfield School in North End who have been inspired with different speakers all week.

Primary teacher and organiser of the event, Amber Sheppard said: ‘It is really important that we teach the kids that they can do anything and I wanted to get people in from different industries to inspire them.’

One of those inspirational speakers was Sir Ben Ainslie, from Land Rover BAR in Portsmouth, who attended a school assembly to talk about his ambitions.

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Sir Ben Ainslie with Mayfield School pupils. Picture by Malcolm Wells

Ben said: ‘We are really proud to be in Portsmouth and we feel part of us being here is to inspire kids to get into sport and I think sport can really help them become focused in life and learn skills like teamwork.’

The pupils were given a presentation on Land Rover BAR and a history of the America’s Cup before asking Sir Ben questions.

Answering to why he got into sailing, he said: ‘I grew up in Cornwall and I would go to the local sailing club and I also really liked the competition aspect and working within a team.’

Head of Primary Matthew Stedman said: ‘From a young age it is all about setting goals high and it has been great to get all the kids thinking about what they would like to achieve in life.

Sir Ben Ainslie with Mayfield School pupils. Picture by Malcolm Wells

‘If you can’t have dreams and goals when you are little then when can you?’

Other speakers included local actress and Britain’s Got Talent star Bessie Cursons, author Simon Phillip and Olympic swimmer Cassie Patten.

Year 3 pupil Lexi Firth said: ‘Ben was really inspiring and this whole week has been really fun.’

The eight-year-old added: ‘I also really liked Cassie’s talk as well because I do synchronised swimming lessons and I really like swimming.’

Coordinator Amber hopes to repeat the event next year.

She said: ‘I want to try and get as many different people in here to inspire the kids and particularly some scientists to inspire the girls and for them to see it is not just a boy’s job.’

Headteacher David Jeapes confirmed Land Rover BAR were looking to help in the school’s rebuild with new technologies and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) centre.