A gold medal winning paralympian and politician inspired Hartlepool students to work hard to achieve their dreams.
Tanni Grey-Thompson gave a motivational talk to more that 600 pupils and staff at Dyke House Sports and Technology College.
They listened intently as Tanni, also known as Baroness Grey-Thompson, told how despite being in a wheelchair she went on to win 16 medals at five Paralympic Games including 11 gold and become a member of the House of Lords.
But behind the publicity and glory, she told the students how years of training and hard work went into the success she has enjoyed.
She told the audience: “When I was your age I didn’t think I could be an athlete, let alone working in the House of Lords.
“If you really, really want to do something you have to work really hard.
“It is a bit like school work, you might not enjoy it but the harder you work the better the results are.”
Tanni, who has lived in the North East for the last 20 years, broke 30 world records during her athletics career.
In 2010, she was made a life peer of the House of Lords which gives her the chance to influence politics on the big stage.
She visited Dyke House as part of the Speakers for Schools organisation which aims to inspire young people to success.
Tanni added: “I think it’s really important for young people to listen to different voices and different people.
“I grew up in Wales which is similar in many ways to the North East with its coal industry.”
Sally Holt, the school’s aspirational co-ordinator, said: “Tanni was a hugely inspirational speaker. It was great to her speak about her experiences in sport and are transferable to the challenges our students face in day to day life.
“The talk about the lack of glamour was something really important for the students to take away whether it is for studying, their sport or anything else.
“I think she really demonstrated how you achieve excellence.”
Dyke House’s executive head Andrew Jordon and head of college Andrew Murphy expressed their thanks to Tanni for giving up her time to visit the school.