Character and Determination

(34) KEY STAGE 2 &3

VISUAL AID: Hand written letter, below.

To inspire the children with a true tale about a disabled boy who loved life.

Suitable Music: Chariots of Fire (played as children come in)

(This is another one of my husband's true assembly stories)

In my time as a teacher of Physical Education I had the privilege of teaching some outstanding sportsmen and women. Some represented their country, one captained his country and one even became a Premier League manager. They were all special in their own way.

However the most special pupil never reached the dizzy sporting heights. His name was Geoffrey Armstrong.

I taught Geoffrey back in 1970, a long time ago.

In sporting terms Geoffrey was just average in most sports.

In cross-country running he would finish half way back in the 'pack'

In gymnastics he just made the top half of his year group on ability. In athletics he did manage to represent the school at discus but never made it as a sprinter.

But football…that’s were the trouble lay…he was pretty poor, but enthusiastic to the point that I often heard the cry from his friends

''Sir, tell Geoffrey, He has kicked me again!"

So how can he be so special you may ask.

Let me read you this letter sent to his form teacher asking that Geoffrey may be excused P.E.

This, I think, will clear up a few 'minor' details.

Dear Mr Whittington, Would you please excuse Geoffrey from all P.E. lessons, as his artificial foot is broke, and only tied together with tape, due to a strike for more money, the limb fitters will not do repairs until a settlement is reached, and he must be careful for the time being

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Armstrong

Yes, Geoffrey only had one leg. He lost his leg when he was run over by a bus as he went to his Scouts meeting. So no wonder he was of only average ability in sport.

He was so enthusiastic. I feared for my life when he did head springs over the box and his false leg passed close to my head. No wonder his friends complained when he kicked them during football lessons… He never felt a thing. He often came up to me saying that the rivets had gone in his ankle joint and shook his foot to prove it.

Geoffrey's courage and determination made him special in everyone's eyes. We knew he would be a success in something, if not sport! I heard that a few years after leaving school he had presented a T.V. programme on BBC2. The next time you feel like giving up think of that not very famous, but very special pupil Geoffrey Armstrong.

He didn't know what it was to give up.