Prize Giving Evening with Darren Edwards
John O’Gaunt students attending Prize Giving and Presentation Evening were given an inspirational boost from motivational guest speaker, Darren Edwards. Paralysed after a climbing accident aged 26, Darren has gone on to become a record-breaking adventurer, sportsman and expedition leader. He explained how the three values the JOG School community hold dear, ambition, care and courage, aided his emotional, mental and physical recovery.
The care of friends (that he in turn cared for) meant he formulated an ambitious plan of action for new adventures whilst in hospital. As soon as he left, friends got him in a canoe with plans to become a Paralympian! Darren also spoke about his belief that a positive mindset, determination, self-care and building resilience is more important than anything else. It makes impossible-seeming things possible; and if chosen pathways don’t work out, there can always be another plan and another challenge.
With extraordinary ambition, care and courage, Darren is a living testament to the boundless capabilities of the human spirit, redefining the limits of what is thought possible for someone with a spinal cord injury. He is the first person to complete seven marathons in seven days across seven continents in a wheelchair, has led a kayaking expedition from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and led the first all-disabled team skiing across Europe’s largest glacier in Iceland.
Vice Principal Mr (Pete) Scutt said ‘Darren is an exceptional speaker, who inspired students, staff and parents with those values that shape us at JOG: the ambition in setting yourself goals, and the courage to put your all into everything you do, despite what has happened to you. He also pressed home the importance friendship, love and family play in living your best life.’ Darren is currently training to lead an expedition to the South Pole later this year.
The evening began with a solo performance on piano by year 8’s Sophie Chippett, and ended, after all the student awards and achievements had been celebrated, with a vote of thanks from year 11’s Euan Macleod.