Former Olympians and Comedian give Student Wellbeing a boost

26 February 2018

Last week Middlesbrough College celebrated Wellbeing week, a week aiming to make students and staff aware of their own physical and mental health and wellbeing.

As part of Wellbeing week, staff and students were given the opportunity to watch guest speakers Craig Heap an Olympic gymnast, Chris Cook an Olympic swimmer and John Ryan a stand-up comedian.

Craig Heap gave an aspirational talk focussing on teamwork and daring to be different. Craig has won 14 British championship titles, competed in 5 European and 5 World championships. He fulfilled his childhood dream of competing at the Olympic Games, achieving a Personal Best in the All Around final of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Chris Cook also gave a motivational speech focussing on following your passion and challenging yourself. Chris Cook is a double Olympian and double Commonwealth champion for Great Britain. He was also the first British male to break 60 seconds in the 100m breaststroke event.

Chris said “The students at Middlesbrough College were so respectful and responsive to the messages that we explored during the ‘Dream big, start small’ inspirational session. When I looked out into the crowd I saw potential!

“ The session is based around my personal journey... struggles and successes along the way and I share it with people in the hope that it ignites their own personal passion or awakens a curiosity to explore it further.

“Everyone was engaged and involved in the session. I lost count of how many people came to say thank you at the end, which was so nice and shows how much respect the students have for guests. I truly believe that some of those students will be returning to Middlesbrough College one day soon to share their own success journey.

“I also was made to feel like a member of the college family from the off! As I walked in I was greeted by friendly team members ready to help with anything to make the day a success, and that’s exactly what it was... a success! Thank you and I look forward to crossing paths again.”

John Ryan used laughter to get the serious message of mental health issues across to staff and students in a comedy performance. John has won the Edinburgh festival highlight in 2004, the 2011 Scottish Mental health and Arts Film Festival Best Short Documentary award and The Royal Society for Public Health Combined Practice and Research award in 2015.

John Ryan said “Teenagers get so much bad press these days. The students at Middlesbrough College showed that they can listen, give an opinion, be supportive and most importantly be receptive to information.

“They were a fantastic audience and I learned from them too. Their parents and teachers should be proud of them.”

Over 450 students attended the talks and students and staff also took part in sessions covering healthy eating, body image and mental health and classes in Yoga, Bollywood fitness and Zumba.

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