Extraordinary Paralympian inspires Newham children

Several Newham schools were “truly inspired” by a visit from an extraordinary disabled athlete competing in the Paralympic Games in London.

Born in Canada, Josh Vander Vies was born without arms or legs but this did not stop him winning a place on the Canadian national boccia team and the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Boccia is a Paralympic sport for athletes with disabilities that have a major impact on motor skills which is a target ball sport belonging to the same family as petanque and bowls.

Also a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in Political Science and French, Josh gave a motivational talk to pupils at Colegrave Primary School in Stratford, Central Park Primary in East Ham, Avenue Primary in Manor Park, Kingsford Community School in Beckton, and Essex Primary School in Manor Park.

Josh wrote about his mounting excitement at the prospect of speaking at primary schools in Newham on his blog at www.joshvandervies.com.

He wrote: “This will be my first time in London, and I cannot wait to meet with and learn from students there, like I do from students across Canada.

“Most importantly, I am excited to show them the sport of boccia, let them try it out, and give them a new favourite sport to watch for during the Paralympics.

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“I can feel the excitement in London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games across the ocean here in Canada.

“It will be great to be in the thick of it at the end of June.

“I spoke to several schools in Vancouver leading up to the Winter Games in 2010 and I know that London students will be just as excited.”

Josh visited Colegrave Primary School on Wednesday June 27 at the same time as Deputy Mayor of Newham Cllr Lester Hudson who joined the Paralympian in a game of boccia.

Spending over an hour with the pupils, Josh visited children of the Foundation stage and Year One before giving a motivational assembly to pupils in Years Four and Five.