De Aston School pupil Victoria Pritchard admitted she received the best birthday present she could have asked for after being given a rafting masterclass by Olympic champions Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott.
Pritchard was at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham last week as a group of De Aston School pupils enjoyed a white water rafting session.
They were awarded the day out after successfully fulfilling a Get Set to Make a Change pledge to encourage, promote, inspire and motivate their community by running projects to include everyone.
On hand to lend some expert advice were Baillie and Stott, who won became the first ever Brits to win Olympic canoe slalom gold as they stormed to the C2 title at London 2012.
And Pritchard, who turned 18 on the day, insisted it was a birthday of dreams with her hard efforts being rewarded in the best possible way.
“The white water rafting was a prize for our Get Set to Make a Change pledge and it was really, really good and it was my birthday as well so it was a lovely surprise,” said Pritchard, who was joined in Nottingham by Slated Row School and Stepney Bank Stables.
“Everyone really enjoyed it even though it was pretty physically challenging. We were quite lucky that everyone on our team are quite sporty so that helped a lot.
“We did quote a few Get Set to Make a Change pledges but the main one was a school football tournament for Years seven, eight and nine which just encouraged them to communicate and to have fun.
“It was really good and we got a lot out of it too because it brings a sense of fulfilment to your life, and to get this amazing prize off the back of it and to meet two Olympic champions was great too.”
The Get Set to Make a Change programme inspired almost 5,000 teenagers through 23 roadshows in 12 cities across the UK last year, encouraging them to deliver pledges of support to their community.
And Olympic champion Baillie was more than happy to put Pritchard and De Aston School through their paces in order to pay them back for their efforts.
“It was cool to help De Aston School out after all the hard work they put in with their Get Set to Make a Change pledge and they seemed to have fun which was the main thing,” Baillie said.
“They had done some really good voluntary work and off the back of it they won this prize and white water rafting is a great way to get started in the sport because it is fun and easily accessible.
“The Get Set to Make a Change scheme is great and when we were doing the roadshows it was all really nice but the proof was going to be in the pudding in terms of young people going away and organising events and it was great to see it happening and De Aston School deserve recognition.”
Through GSTMC, the British Olympic Foundation, in conjunction with the British Paralympic Association is using the spirit of the London Games to re-inspire young people across the UK. The project is being supported by a £2.5m grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign. http://www.makeachange.org.uk/