GB Paralympian Visits Vandyke

Published on 09 May 2016

GB Paralympian Visits Vandyke

Vandyke was visited recently by Great Britain Paralympian footballer Alistair Patrick Heselton.

Alistair was highly rated as a young footballer, playing for Wycombe Wanderers before being spotted by QPR.  Here he starred for the club’s U17, U19s and reserves.  He also spent a spell on loan at Oldham Athletic before a cruciate ligament injury halted his progress.  Despite this career threatening injury, on rehabilitation Alistair worked hard and his reward was a contract at Helmond Sport in Holland. His highlight here was playing against PSV Eindhoven in front of some 40000 supporters.

A life-defining moment came in 2006. His best friend at the time (and also professional footballer, Simon Patterson) died in a car crash in which Alistair was a passenger and also suffered terrible injuries.  Following 3 months in a coma and being told he may never walk again, he thought his footballing days were over. But 4 years later he was contacted by The FA and given details of CP football, for Cerebral Palsy or brain injury sufferers. Since then Alistair has played in the CPISRA World Championships for England (scoring on his debut) and in the Paralympics GB team at London 2012

Alistair visited  Vandyke as part of ‘Sky Sports’ Living for Sport project.  Alistair led inspirational workshops to a variety of different groups of students, that aimed to inspire  them to reach their full potential.  Alistair told the story of his career and the many obstacles he had to overcome to reach his goals.  In his workshops he used the 6 key skills he believes are imperative if you wish to be successful. They left a powerful message with students. Mr Turney said, ‘Alistair delivered exactly the right message to our students. The steps to success of mental toughness, having a hunger to achieve, people skills, breaking barriers and planning for success really can help young people develop valuable life skills that will help them both in and outside of school, now and into the future.’

Alistair added, ’I had a great day at Vandyke where the students responded fantastically to my sessions. I believe that through sharing my experiences I try to show that everyone has a talent, although some people may not know themselves what it is however; with hard work and dedication everyone can reach their dreams’