Recently returned from Rio, where he made his Olympic debut in the lightweight four, rower and alumnus Mark Aldred paid a special visit to school. Not just a former pupil, Mark spent much of his primary school life at Blue Coat living on site with his parents, both former members of staff. Much has changed in terms of buildings but Mark was able to see that the opportunities in sport and other areas of the curriculum are still going strong and his visit was a great way to inspire pupils to strive for their goals.

Mark spoke in assembly to the children in Prep about his sport and the value of perseverance, something that we hold as an important BCS value as we ‘Cheerfully Persevere’, or in the case of Pre-Prep, ‘Cheerfully Try Hard’ in all that we do at school.

The children were fascinated to learn more about the discipline of rowing and the effort it takes to make Olympic selection. They were also quite excited to learn that free McDonalds, Coca Cola and limited edition mobile phones are provided for athletes in the Olympic Village!

Mark was a terrific role model and illustrated what can be achieved through hard work and determination. Pre-Prep were keen to offer their own accolade to the former Blue Coat boy – not a quite a gold medal but nevertheless a much coveted Blue Coat Bear Award for Cheerfully Trying Hard, presented by Mrs Andrews!

Thanks to Mark, for sharing the morning with us and presenting school with a signed 2016 Olympic rower’s vest. This will soon take pride of place in the Sports Centre. We are sure that the children went back home to their parents proud to have met a real-life Olympian. We wish Mark well for the future and hope to be able to see him compete in Tokyo in 2020.