Aim High! No-One Aimed Higher Than Eddie The Eagle

Eddie The Eagle on stage last night for Cleethorpes Academy's Annual Presentation Evening at Grimsby Auditorium.

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No truer words could have been spoken than those by Eddie The Eagle - Britain's first and last Olympic ski jumper - when he told Cleethorpes Academy students last night "always aim high."

This from a man who stared down from the top of a 90m-high ski slope, with a helmet held on by a piece of string and skis that were only just fit for purpose, with no training and only his incredible self-belief, tenacity and determination standing between him and utter disaster.

It is 30 years since he famously came last in the Calgary Olympics in 1988, but Eddie was a winner that day and he still is today. "Just taking part was a gold medal for me," he said.

Today he continues to tell his remarkable story - one that even inspired a 2016 movie about his life, starring Taron Egerton wearing Eddie's trademark glasses. So far he has watched it 38 times and cries every time, he told students.

Ironically, it was a school ski trip that began his love of skiing, but the high cost of the sport led him to pursue the cheaper option of ski jumping. From the age of 8, he told his parents he would compete at the Olympics one day. He just wasn't sure in what sport that would be.

So when he drove off to Switzerland in his mum's car at the age of 22 (she just thought he was nipping out) and turned up at a camp where teams from all over Europe were training, he was pretty much a laughing stock.

But it was Eddie who had the last laugh, garnering support from them all (his skis and helmet were given to him by Olympic teams from Austria and Italy) and even though he came 58th out of 58 competitors in Calgary, he was loved the world over. Today he is married with two daughters, has a Law Degree and gives inspirational talks to organisations all over the UK.

Eddie (aka Michael Edwards) visited Cleethorpes Academy to meet with students and tour the facilities, before presenting more than 120 awards at the Academy's annual Presentation Evening, held at Grimsby Auditorium before an audience of more than 800 people.

The Cheltenham-born skier attended a Victorian-built school that could not have been more different from the Academy, he told students. "This is amazing. What you have here provides you with every opportunity to achieve your own dreams. Who knows, you might just make a career out of them," he said.

"Sport has given me a wonderful life. I didn't win, but it didn't stop me from pursuing my dreams. Aim high and never let anyone tell you that you can't achieve. Just look at me!" he added.

Eddie The Eagle joins in with Cleethorpes Academy Ukele Band members. Back row - Chloe Annand, Principal Janice Hornby, Mia-Rose Bradley, Yasmin Hawkes, Joel Swinton, Alice Clarkson and Grace Kirk. Front row - Eddie The Eagle, Chelsea Connor, Paradise Rowbotham and Dane Armstrong Dallow.

Eddie's resilience was the theme of the night from Cleethorpes Academy Principal, Janice Hornby, who told award-winning students: "If you try your best, give 100% in everything you do, you will be proud of your achievements and no one can ask for more.

"It's not what you know but what you can do with that knowledge that is the role of education. You have all proven your ability to persevere in pursuit of achievement. I look forward to watching you grow in the future and for those students moving on I wish you every success and hope you continue to be resilient as you face new challenges."

Awards were presented in a number of categories for Progress and Achievement across all year groups in the last Academic year. The most prestigious award - the Chief Executive's Special Award for the Most Outstanding Student - went to Amelia Hooper, who also won the award for Best GCSE Results.

She was described by Martin Brown, Deputy Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, as "a student who strives for excellence, a keen sportswoman and an ambassador for her House and for the Academy."

Afterwards Amelia, who is now studying for her A Levels at Sixth Form College, said: "I loved every second of my five years at Cleethorpes Academy. The teaching was fantastic and the support all the way through was the best I could have asked for. I did not expect it, but I am very proud of these awards."

Philip Bond, Chair of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, thanked parents, carers, teachers and everyone involved in the awards night. He also presented The Daffodil Fisher Memorial Trust Art Prize to Nargis Amini, who he described as "an outstanding and conscientious artist."

Governor Jane Aukett presented the Dr Aukett Chemistry Award in her husband's name to Mathew Salkeld. She called him "an excellent scientist. A quiet, confident worker who simply excelled."

Throughout the evening, the awards were interspersed with entertainment from Cleethorpes Academy Chorus. Cleethorpes Academy Cheerleaders and Cleethorpes Academy Band. The show culminated in a spectacular performance from a huge cast of students performing songs from The Greatest Showman, with Joel Swinton in the Hugh Jackman role of P.T. Barnum.

Earlier in the evening, Eddie the Eagle, who met Hugh Jackman when he played his coach Bronson Peary in the movie of Eddie's life, joked with the audience: "I still have Hugh's number if anyone wants it!"

Stand up Joel!

Eddie The Eagle receives a laser-cut ski jumper key ring from Technology students at Cleethorpes Academy. They are: Oliver Kesson, Isabelle Lancaster, Jack Parker and Jasmin Thompson.

Eddie The Eagle proves his fitness with Cleethorpes Academy students in their state-of-the-art Fitness Suite. Pictured working out with him are students Stephen Smith, Cadarn Taylor and Harvey Cribb.

Lewis Tuck and Morgan Adams check out their biceps with Eddie The Eagle in the gym.

He has an ear for music too! Eddie conducts the brass band who greeted him on his visit to Cleethorpes Academy. Back row: Principal Janice Hornby, Eddie The Eagle, Teachers Mr Frost and Mr Burns. Front row: Crystal Wesley, Mason Williams, Sophie Marshall, Max Osgothorpe and Mr Clarke.

Amelia Hooper receives the CEO's Special Award for Most Outstanding Student at Cleethorpes Academy from Eddie The Eagle and Principal, Janice Hornby.

Bethany Jagger and Max Osgothorpe receive the House Trophy for Rigel House from Eddie The Eagle, with Principal Janice Hornby.

Charlie Cook receives the GCSE Progress Award.

Mathew Salkeld receives the Dr Aukett Chemistry Award from Governor Jane Aukett and Eddie The Eagle.

Nargis Amini receives the Daffodil Fisher Memorial Trust Art Prize from Philip Bond, Chair of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust and Eddie The Eagle.

Cleethorpes Academy Award winners with Eddie The Eagle (centre), Principal Janice Hornby and Philip Bond (Chair of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust).

A scene from The Greatest Showman with Joel Swinton as P.T. Barnum (back right).

Cleethorpes Academy Cheerleaders perform at the Awards Night.

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Cleethorpes Academy Principal

Janice Hornby

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson