Billericay’s Mayflower High School cheers as former pupils triumph in Paralympics

Crystal Lane-Wright at Tokyo 2021 Paralympics

Article by Poppie Webster: Talented athletes have been applauded by their former school for their astounding success in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, snatching medals and making history with Team GB.

Paralympic track and road cyclist Crystal Lane-Wright and wheelchair basketball champ Jim Palmer both went to Billericay’s Mayflower High School, and their triumphs have filled pupils with pride.

Both have excelled in the Paralympic Games, with Crystal winning three silver medals in the women’s road time trial C5, the women’s pursuit C5 and the women's road race C4-5.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jim played in the men’s wheelchair basketball quarter finals, with Great Britain beating Canada and moving onto the semi-final on Friday.

Delighted, Janet Williams, interim headteacher at Mayflower High School, said:

“We are unbelievably proud of them both, and it’s an honour to be able to say they started here. Crystal started with us in around 1996 and so left quite a while ago, but one member of staff who was a former student himself actually remembers her being in his year group. He can still remember her always being keen on sports. She used to play football at county level and was always really sporty in school. Jim actually started with us in about 2008, so a lot of us still remember him.cHe has always been phenomenal and from year seven his ambition was to compete at the highest level of wheelchair basketball. He would ask to do extra training where he could, he so wanted to become an elite athlete. But his lifelong ambition was to compete in the Paralympics.”

Although Ms Williams is over the moon at the duo’s success, she is certainly not surprised at their accomplishments.

She continued:

“Jim was always a pleasant student, really enthusiastic with everything he did and was always smiling and keen to improve his skills. I’m not surprised they are competing at the level they’ve got to. They’ve come so far and achieved so much. They have always been students that were very focused and determined. They never let anything hold them back and both went on to continue to study sport after school. But it’s also a testament to our teachers in the PE department, we’re lucky enough to have so many coming through the school and competing at county and national level. Well done to them both and good luck moving forward. We are cheering for them every step of the way.”

Article by Poppie Webster, The Echo