THIS week, pupils at the abbey school became cub reporters when a celebrity graced their presence.

Tokyo 2020 Wheelchair Rugby gold medallist, Aaron Phipps attended the Romsey Abbey Church of England Primary School on January 10 to share his extraordinary story and talk about how to be resilient when facing great challenges.

Pupils of the school turned into journalists for the day to interview the gold medallist. They said: “Across the morning, Aaron, who lives locally in Totton, captivated us with his journey to becoming Paralympic champion and climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. He inspired us all when he spoke about how he overcame the incredible challenge of having both legs and tips of his fingers amputated when he became seriously ill at the age of 15.”

The Team Solent Sharks Wheelchair Rugby Player underwent medical procedures after contracting meningitis at a young age.

The pupils continued: “He taught us that being resilient means to set a goal, get organised, work hard, ask for help and never give up.

The pupils interviewed Aaron at the end of the morning and asked how he felt when he lost his legs. Aaron said: “It was the worst and best thing that happened to me. It motivated me to work hard and take opportunities.”

One of the junior reporters also asked what his most painful challenge had been, and he said to get to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro he had to crawl up on his hands and knees for 4 days, which gave him 'terrible blisters'.

The pupils commented on how shocking it was to hear just how much of a struggle it was for Aaron but amazing that he achieved his goal.

The pupils said: “We very much enjoyed finding out more about him and his story and we discovered that he has two daughters and two really big rabbits (Holly and Stanley).

“His wife Vicky and his children have been a huge support to him and helped him achieve all these amazing things. We thought it was fantastic to meet him and he has taught us to give new things a go. We feel really lucky to have had the chance to meet a paralympian gold medallist.

“We will all be working hard to achieve our own goals in life. We will also not be afraid to try new things because we might find something we love and who knows maybe we’ll be sharing our stories with the children of the future. Thank you Aaron.”

This report has been written by the pupils of Romsey Abbey C of E Primary School: Hollie, Leihla and Miron in Year 6 and Alby, Ameilia and Thomas in Year 5.

The report was edited by James in Year 6 and the photos were taken by Hollie, James and Edward also in Year 6.

Contributed by Romsey Abbey C of E School.