Young Corby athlete inspired by Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes with Alex Cunningham, a pupil at Lodge Park Academy, Corby
Dame Kelly Holmes with Alex Cunningham, a pupil at Lodge Park Academy, Corby

Pupils from Lodge Park Academy and Rockingham Primary School in Corby competed in front of a host of Olympic and Commonwealth athletes in the David Ross Education Trust’s Summer Cup.

The event was attended by Dame Kelly Holmes, Jenny Jones, the country’s first Olympic medallist on snow, gold medal-winning rower Mark Hunter and UK swimming legend Karen Pickering.

Held at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, the competition saw students compete in a number of events from athletics and rugby to swimming and table tennis.

Dame Kelly said: “It is an honour to be here. Events like this are so important. What’s great about the David Ross Trust is that by bringing these academies together they have the opportunity to experience a high level of competition.”

Alex Cunningham, a talented 800m runner from Lodge Park Academy, was in awe of meeting his athletics hero, Dame Kelly.

He said: “I train regularly at school and go to Corby Athletics Club twice a week.

“Meeting someone so inspirational and incredible was amazing. I got to speak to her and asked her advice on how to improve as an athlete and a runner. She has been a hero of mine for some time.”

Alex, who starred on the track during the event, had met Sir Steve Redgrave at another David Ross Education Trust event just a week earlier.

He said: “I have met two sporting icons in just seven days. Not many students can say that. It is just inspiring. Meeting a person who has been to the Olympics, and competed in your event, motivates you to push limits in what you do.”

Alison Hayes, Lodge Park Academy’s principal, said: “The day was unbelievable. A whole sports stadium was hired out, a dozen athletes with a host of medals were cheering us on and we even saw some of our students compete on Sky Sports News that night.

“There has been lots of talk recently highlighting that an increased level of sports participation in an academy can have a real impact on results in the classroom. With lots of our students competing and excelling at the Summer Cup this can only bode well for Lodge Park’s ongoing success.”