EDUCATION came alive for children at Vernham Dean Gillum’s Church of England Primary School when Paralympian Aaron Phipps of Wheelchair Rugby Team GB visited the school.

The Year 3 and 4 children were completing a unit of work on writing letters, where most of the children this year wrote to Olympians and Paralympians following a summer of fantastic sport.

Aaron responded to Eddie Maloney, aged 8, who is a keen rugby player and was inspired by the Paralympian game of wheelchair rugby.

Asking Aaron some questions about how he got into wheelchair rugby and if he ever got hurt, he hoped for a reply to his letter, and was delighted that Aaron decided to turn up at school to talk to Eddie and the rest of the children.

However the visit did come as quite a shock as class teacher, Heidi Milne, decided to keep it a surprise from the children.

Eddie said: “I was so happy and shocked that he took the time to come and talk to us at school.”

Aaron outlined his illness and told the children that he had his legs and fingers amputated at the age of 15 and how he embraced this as a challenge.

Aaron trains at Southampton Solent University and is rumoured to be the fastest wheelchair rugby player in the world.

The school are currently running the “Be the Best you can Be” initiative and looking at how they can work and challenge themselves to attain dreams.

Aaron’s parting message to the children and staff inspired them to keep aiming for their dreams when he said: “You make your own choices and create your opportunities. Go for it.”