SCHOOLCHILDREN were left ‘truly inspired’ after sailing legend Alex Thomson caught up with pupils this week.
The Gosport hero was quizzed by pupils in visits to two schools, where he chatted with children who had actively followed his progress throughout the Vendee Globe – a worldwide sailing race in which he finished second earlier this year.
He has inspired us to always give it your all and never take the easy routeOliver Twyman, 11, from Haselworth Primary School
Alex visited children at Gosport’s Haselworth Primary School yesterday and Meoncross School in Stubbington on Monday.
During the visits, the 42-year-old had one-on-one chats with pupils, showed them videos of his dramatic feats and took part in Q&A sessions.
Oliver Twyman, 11, from Haselworth Primary, said: ‘Alex is an inspiration to all of us at school.
‘He has inspired us to always give it your all and never take the easy route.’
Both schools kept in touch with Alex while he sailed around the world and the sailor would send videos to pupils about his progress.
He also kept Meoncross’ school mascot, Speedy the sea turtle, with him while he battled the waves.
Simone Taylor, 10, also of Haselworth Primary, said: ‘It was so fascinating to meet him and find out how he managed to be able to do everything by himself.’
Kate Ashman, deputy headteacher at Haselworth Primary, said Alex had ‘truly inspired’ the pupils during the visit.
She said: ‘It was such a fantastic visit from Alex and I think that he truly inspired a lot of children today.
‘He was so lively and animated with the children, who were really interested in everything he had to say.
‘They see him as a bit of a sailing legend in Gosport now.
‘I guess they look at him and think “wow, this sailor achieved such an incredible feat and he was from where I live”, so it really meant a lot to them to meet him.’
During the pupils’ quizzing of the sailor, they raised a great deal of thoughtful questions, such as “what did you do to combat loneliness on the boat?” and “what happened to the boat when you went to sleep?”
He gave all the pupils a signed postcard as a thank-you for keeping an eye on him during the race.
Alex told pupils that he was set to go on a holiday, but said that work had already begun on a new boat for him to challenge for the Vendee Globe in 2021.
Alex also hosted a ‘big quiz night’ for parents and staff at Meoncross, which raised funds for The Alex Wardle Foundation and The Portsmouth Sailing Trust.