Teacher overcomes adversity to become a top ten author

Richard Clarke overcame a serious leg injury to achieve his dreams of becoming a PE teacher, semi professional footballer and author
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My name is Richard Clarke.

As a child I was desperate to work in sport which I loved. Ideally I wanted to be a professional footballer, but my grandma, who I lived with, thought I should be an author due to stories I wrote when the weather was too poor to be outside!

My grandma was my hero.

Front cover of bookFront cover of book
Front cover of book

At the age of 17, it was clear I was not good enough to be a professional footballer. I was playing semi professionally, but obviously needed an alternative profession. I was thus over the moon to be accepted as a PE student at the illustrious Carnegie College in Leeds.

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At the age of 19 though, my world was blown apart. An horrific injury playing football led me to not being able to move my left foot upwards. I was told I would never play football again, would not be able to teach PE, and would never walk properly without a calliper for the rest of my life.

I was not prepared to accept this.

I decided to prove people wrong. I have had to wear a calliper all my life, but I also completed my PE degree and became a PE teacher.

As well as that, I became a semi professional footballer, again. I even played in the 2000 FA Sunday Cup Final at the City Ground Nottingham Forest. In the semi final I scored the only goal of the game to get us to the final.

I kept my calliper quiet, but I imagine I am the only player to ever wear one in an FA Cup Final.

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After thirty years in education, rising to Deputy Headteacher, I stepped down to help my autistic son who was struggling with day to day life.

Inspired by him, my other children and as a tribute to my late grandma, I wrote and published a children's book called "Calm Pond." It is aimed at 5 to 9 year olds and is a book of nine short stories about a group of animals. The resilience story on the book is based on his injury and drive to succeed.

Four animals in the book are named after my children, George, Hannah, Niamh and Harry.

The stories cover many topics to help children understand life issues, such as equality, resilience, honesty, change, strengths and weaknesses, anxiety, differences, empathy, bereavement and mental health. My life as a teacher helped me to create the book.

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To my amazement, the book recently got to number 10 in the Amazon charts for short stories for young adults. At that time it was above Roald Dahl in the charts. My success has led to countless newspaper interviews and three appearances on BBC Radio.

You can listen to these interviews on my Facebook page Calm Pond by Richard Clarke

The book is available on Amazon.


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