Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft visits Harrogate school

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A gold medal winning and ten-time world champion Paralympian wheelchair racer has pitted her sporting wits against the Headmaster of a Harrogate school.

Hannah Cockroft MBE - whose sporting career began when she was introduced to wheelchair basketball at her senior school – took on Ashville College’s Richard Marshall in a basketball challenge.

While Halifax-born Hannah holds the Paralympic and World Records for the 100m, 200m and 400m in the T34 classification – basketball fanatic, Mr Marshall, also boasts an impressive sporting CV.

Mr Marshall, who joined the independent school last September as its tenth Headmaster, represented England at basketball as a schoolboy at Under 15, 19 and 23 age levels, while also playing for the British University England team, and was captain of his University first team.

Hannah and Mr Marshall battled head to head in a penalty shootout alongside Ashville pupils and keen basketball players Brody Meyer and Josh McCray, ending in a draw between the two teams.

In addition to shooting hoops against Mr Marshall, Hannah spoke to pupils from Year 3 upwards about overcoming adversity, the pressures of social media, body-image and self-confidence.

And, over lunch in the school dining room, Hannah was inundated by young fans asking for her autograph.

The school was given this opportunity thanks to Rob Shaw, the father of a pupil, who bought a “Day with Hannah” at a charity dinner. His daughter (Eliza) persuaded him to donate that day to her school.

Mr Marshall said: “It was fantastic to welcome Hannah to Ashville College. The basketball shootout was a great success, all the pupils got really involved and cheered along. She is a super sporting role model and an inspiration to us all.

“We are very grateful to Mr Shaw for enabling our pupils to share his prize, the chance to see ‘‘Hurricane Hannah’, and to hear from her just what it takes to achieve success.”