We welcomed disabled adventurer Darren Edwards into school today to talk to the children about how his work, challenges and how he uses his mindset. Below are some accounts of the day by Wrekin pupils:
Today Darren Edwards came in to our school to talk to us about his life and how it changed forever.
It all started when he was just a young boy. He lived in East Ham and had a passion for football (supported West Ham).Despite moving to Shrewsbury at the age of eleven, his love for West Ham stayed with him. He was the captain of his football team in his university. When he was only seventeen he was introduced to Bear Grylls and his amazing adventures. This inspired him. Then he and his friend decided to climb up Snowdon and this made him have a change of heart. After this he decided that this was his destiny but life took an unexpected turn.
One day, when he was 26 he was climbing up a mountain with his dear friend Matt. He came onto an unexpectedly unstable rock. This caused him to come tumbling down within moment he crashed to the ground but continued rolling closer and closer to the next ledge. Luckily, his friend Matt who was close by noticed this and was able to stop him rolling by throwing himself over him. He saved Darren’s life! But he broke his back witch caused him to be paralyzed from his ribs down. Immediately the air ambulance came to take him to the hospital. Little did he know he was going to be there for nearly half a year. During his stay at the hospital his girlfriend who he thought was perfect for him came in and broke up with him. Even though many people in his situation would be sad and disappointed Darren was actually sort of glad that he was injured because this meant that he could have a fresh start at life. Instead of thinking of the negative side of it he thought of the positive side. Of course he was still sad about it though.
Though he was paralyzed, he wanted to do kayaking because he had seen it on the Paralympics so he decided to start training. Nevertheless he had tried as hard and trained himself 24/7, a man was always at the top. He tried and tried to beat but he was well trained and a very good athlete. Unfortunately, he hurt his shoulder but at the same time Covid-19 struck so he could not compete in the Paralympics but also it was preponed to 2021. So he came up with the brilliant idea to kayak from Lands’ End to the top of Scotland with four of his friend who had also had been through tragic moments. So they got to work! Despite the negative comments from people who did not believe in them, they chose to ignore and continued. It was a long and treacherous journey through the Atlantic and the locks of Scotland. They were also very thankful to Travelodge for letting them stay for free. Then the Paralympics was re-opened but Darren had now changed his mind about it because he thought it was quite boring having to do the same training every day. They raised £100,000 towards Help for Heroes.
Today Darren taught us:
- Dream big
- Failure is not scary
- Be grateful
- Positive attitude
- Don’t compare. Don’t doubt. Believe
He taught us to dream big always believe and never look back, after all we only have one life to live! He also said that our brain is our biggest muscle. He told us to be grateful for all things especially at this time where we need to be grateful for our safe country. He said that as an example he was grateful to be alive even though he could not walk he was just thankful for all he had been given.
Jess and Imogen
Darren Edwards is a disabled adventurer and explorer who inspires many to be like him, such as getting a more positive attitude, or trying out all the amazing things he has achieved. He came to our school this morning, to let us know all about his fantastic journey.
When Darren was little, he was a big fan of football, certain that it was his destiny. Growing up, it was all he did, which made it almost impossible to imagine doing anything else. When he went to university, he had grown so good that he became the captain of the team. It was only when one of his friends showed him a video of Bear Grylls, an episode of him on an exciting expedition when he realised football wasn’t what he desperately wanted to do in life. He didn’t mind about not winning the Premier League any more, he just wanted to make the most of the only life he has. So, with that, he set of climbing Mount Snowdon.
Later on in life, like took a very sharp turn. Darren had a potentially life-threatening accident (falling of a cracking rock) turning out permanently paralysed. He would not be here, had his friend Mat not saved his life by jumping on top of him. As a result of this, he spent five months in hospital, and when he came out, he was told he would never walk again and that he would have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Despite his life having changed forever, Darren was not going to give up. Willing to carry on with his career, even though it seemed impossible, he looked for something that could fulfil all of his dreams. Although he had never done this before, he watched the Paralympics, and felt inspired by the sport of kayaking, wishing to start right away.
When he started, Darren thought he was rubbish at it. He was always falling out of his kayak, flipping over and sometimes Darren thought of giving up, or pulling out of the event he was currently competing in. But, as always, he started to very slowly get better, so much, that soon he was amazing at it- maybe even world class!
But still, it seemed he was not good enough for the Paralympics. Then came COVID-19, and even when the Paralympics was back on, Darren decided that he did not want to go anyway. He wanted to spend his time on more important things than that, such as raising money for charity. This was also backed up when he injured his shoulder meaning he could not use it for an extremely long period of time.
After this had healed, he found the perfect solution for him and his friends. Do the undo-able and make the impossible, possible. Kayak from Land’s End to John O’Groats. They reckoned this would take about a month. After and awful lot of dedication, hard work and training, they thought they were ready to do this. And they did! Along the way they saw a lot of amazing animals, such as dolphins, whales and puffins in the ocean!
We learnt a lot from Darren. To dream big, be grateful, have a positive attitude, learn that failure is not scary and to not doubt, compare yourself to others and to believe in what you can do.