World Cup winning sportsman inspires students to make a stand
RUGBY Union Champion Ben Cohen met with Somercotes Academy students before handing out 86 awards at their annual presentation evening, held at the Riverhead Theatre, Louth. The World Cup winning sportsman told students: “Don’t be a by-stander, be an up-stander and support those who need you.”
Ben, who has 58 caps and scored 31 tries for England before his retirement from rugby in 2011, visited the Academy recently ahead of their awards night. The nephew of England 1966 Football World Cup winner George Cohen, Ben was a member of the historic 2003 England World Cup winning Rugby squad.
He played most of his club career for Northampton Saints RFC, before joining French side Brive, and then returning to complete his remarkable career as a prolific try scorer at Sale Sharks.
A founder of his very own StandUp Foundation, which was created in 2011 to help combat bullying and homophobia following the death of his father in a nightclub attack, Ben now channels his time fighting issues he feels passionately about.
Meeting PE students during a tour of the academy, he shook hands with each of them. He told them how he fell into rugby by chance at the age of 12, after turning up to watch a friend play and being roped in because they were short of players. Despite being told “at least 30 or 40 times” that he would never make it big, he “just kept going back” until Northampton Saints signed him up. “Being told no and losing is character building.” he explained.
“Know not to panic and you will earn so much from these situations and they make you stronger. Never be afraid to ask for help, it made me learn a lot faster.”
Ben, who described his career as “a fantastic journey,” said that after his sports career ended he was determined to use his high profile to become a role model for others.
“A lot of sports people forego education for sport and then when their career ends they don’t know what to do. You have an amazing school here and you should take every single one of the fantastic opportunities it offers you to learn right now.”
Frances Green, Somercotes Academy principal, said much the same in her address to the audience at the Awards Night. “Take a risk in order to be successful, question and challenge in the right way,” she told students.
Awards were presented for achievement and progress in the previous academic year. The winner of the most prestigious award of the night, the chief executive’s special award for Outstanding Student, went to Charlie Brady, who is now studying for his A Levels at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College. The award was presented by Martin Brown, deputy chief executive of TMAT, who described Charlie as “a polite and courteous student who achieved a 9 in Chemistry GCSE, an 8 in Biology and an 8 in Physics – grades which reflected his intelligence and commitment to his studies.” Charlie said: “I only joined the Academy in Year 10 after moving here from Kent. Somercotes Academy was brilliant. I really enjoyed my time there.” Throughout the evening, musical entertainment was provided by accomplished pianist Charlie Beevers and stunning vocalist Lucie Wells, whilst Somercotes Academy choir closed the evening with a rousing performance of This Is Me, from The Greatest Showman.
Somercotes Academy Presentation with guest speaker, former rugby international and World Cup winner Ben Cohen. He is pictured meeting students and staff in the fitness suite at the academy.
Charlie McAllister, who plays rugby for Market Rasen, meets his hero Ben Cohen.
Eloise Vines receives the principal’s cup for best value added GCSE results.
Ben meets the rugby and netball students.
Georgia Beevers receives the Philip Bond Award for Best GCSE Results.
Charlie Brady receives the chief executive’s special award for outstanding student.