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Willoughby School pupils thrilled with visit from Paralympic athlete

Para-equestrian rider Roberta Sheffield with pupils at Willoughby School, Bourne.  From left, Harry Pilgrim, 18, Martina Kovacs, 18, Shanice Johnson, 18, and Roberta Sheffield.
Photo: MSMP100214-001ow

Para-equestrian rider Roberta Sheffield with pupils at Willoughby School, Bourne. From left, Harry Pilgrim, 18, Martina Kovacs, 18, Shanice Johnson, 18, and Roberta Sheffield. Photo: MSMP100214-001ow

Para-equestrian rider Roberta Sheffield’s message to pupils of Willoughby School in Bourne was to keep going even when the odds were against them.

The 32-year-old disabled dressage rider, who lives in Bourne, has dual nationality and currently competes for Canada.

She was speaking from her own experience of beating the odds. Despite being told she would be wheelchair-bound by the age of 20 she now takes part in international riding competitions.

Willoughby School head Adam Booker said: “There’s an enormous push in schools for PE and sport and we wanted someone who could inspire our pupils.

“She told the kids, no matter how challenging a situation is they should aspire to do their best. That is what we try to teach them.”

Despite suffering from crippling arthritis, Roberta competes at international competitions and is in training for her next challenge, the Alltech World Equestrian Games 2014, in Normandy, in August.

Alltech, the international company which was started in Stamford and still has a branch here, are sponsors of the World Equestrian 
Games.

Staff from the branch were also at the school during Roberta’s visit.

Mr Booker said the school had asked Roberta if she would be patron of their sports development, which she had accepted.

He added: “We will, of course, do our patriotic bit and support Team GB at the Normandy games, but we will have one eye on our favourite equestrian.”

After the visit Roberta tweeted: “#thankyou! @adambooker1 and Willoughby school for a fantastic morning! Very inspirational to see your amazing school!”

 

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