A GOLD medal-winning Olympian helped a Basingstoke school to celebrate its 50th anniversary by giving an inspirational talk.
Amy Williams, who won gold in the skeleton race at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, visited Aldworth School to unveil its anniversary stone plaque. The 31-year-old brought along her medal to show students, and gave an inspirational talk about her experiences in training for the skeleton event.
Amy also presented certificates to some of the school’s senior students, and awards to long-serving members of staff and the governing body.
Denis McCabe, headteacher of the school, in Western Way, described Amy as “an excellent role model”, adding: “Amy was an outstanding guest of honour and we could not have asked for a better speaker. She captivated the audience when she was talking to us and her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment were self-evident.
“Our students were thrilled to be able to ask Amy questions and she responded with honesty and humour.”
The school, which is celebrating the 50th milestone over the 2013-14 school year, presented Amy with a £250 cheque for Rugby for Heroes, which is a charity she supports.
Aldworth first opened its doors on September 12, 1963. The celebration evening on April 29 included performances by students, dances, and a screening of a DVD called A day in the life of Aldworth, produced by students to give an overview of the school as it is today, while reminiscing about the past.
Aldworth can be traced back to 1646, when the Blue Coat School was opened in Cross Street, thanks to City of London Alderman Richard Aldworth, who left £2,000 in his will.
It was originally an all-boys school, with just 10 pupils. It was rebuilt in 1862 to accommodate 292 children, including girls who transferred from the National School, in Church Square.
In 1876, a decision was made to close the Blue Coat School but the building continued to be used as a school until 1896, when it closed because of bankruptcy.
The building was leased to a shoemaker and eventually sold to the Aldworth Printing Work in 1926. The school site, as it is now, was built in 1963 and called Richard Aldworth School. A stone plaque from the Old Blue Coat School building was incorporated in the main entrance.
In 1994, on the site of the old school, a statue of a Blue Coat Boy was unveiled.
In 2005, the school gained status as a specialist science college, and changed its name to Aldworth Science College. This came to an end last year, when the scheme ended, and the school is now known as Aldworth School.