Para-triathlete inspires Beccles students at annual Celebration Evening

Students at SET Beccles School, part of the Seckford Education Trust, have been inspired with tales of determination and endeavour from Paralympic athlete and former Royal Marine, Joe Townsend. Mr Townsend was guest speaker at the school’s annual Celebration Evening held on Friday, October 4, where students of all ages were recognised for their achievements over the past academic year.

Joe Townsend inspired students at SET Beccles School with his passion for sport and his resilience in the face of adversity, which has led him to become one of the world’s best para-triathletes. After losing both legs in an explosion while on tour in Afghanistan as Royal Marine Commando, Joe was determined to return to his previous fitness level, which led him to become a world-renowned para-triathlete. Joe competed in the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and won gold at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in 2017 and 2018. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Joe tackled his fear of heights by carrying the Paralympic Flame into the stadium with a dramatic high-wire entrance as part of the opening ceremony.

After sharing his motivational story, Mr Townsend presented awards and prizes to students in Years 7 to 11 for their individual achievements and progress made in academic subjects, and success in extra-curricular activities such as Sea Cadets and work experience placements.

Former Year 11 student Lochlann Baker was presented with a string of awards, including the Seckford Foundation Cup for Outstanding Academic Performance after achieving five top Grade 9 GCSEs this summer. Lochlann’s grades put him among the top three percent for high achievement in the country, and he achieved a grade higher in all his subjects that expected when he started the school in Year 7. Lochlann is now studying towards A Levels at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich.

Other awards included the Watson Cup awarded to Year 11 leaver Liam Mills for his outstanding journey and huge progress made at SET Beccles School. At GCSE, Liam achieved 2.5 grades higher than expected when he first started in Year 7, as well as raising £200 for charity as part of the National Citizenship Service during his time at the school.

David Lees, Headteacher at SET Beccles School, said: “Well done to all students for another brilliant year of individual achievements and successes in academic and extra-curricular activities. The Celebration Evening was a great opportunity to look back on the past year and recognise so many students for their hard work and progress made, particularly for our recent Year 11 leavers.

“I’d also like to thank our guest speaker Joe Townsend for joining our celebrations and for sharing his incredible life story, which demonstrates the rewards of being dedicated and committed to achieving success.”