Olympian at awards evening

Starstruck students at University Academy Holbeach were inspired by Olympic gymnastics star Louis Smith MBE, the VIP guest at the academy’s presentation evening this year.

The three-times Olympic medallist and reigning Strictly Come Dancing champion left a lasting impression on students and staff with his visit to the academy last Thursday.

Olympic gymnast and Strictly Come Dancing champion Louis Smith MBE (centre) at University Academy Holbeach Robert King, Nathan Congreve (front left and right) Louise Cobb, Daniel Bellamy, academy principal Steve Baragwanath, James Bowd and Thomas Baggaley.

Olympic gymnast and Strictly Come Dancing champion Louis Smith MBE (centre) at University Academy Holbeach Robert King, Nathan Congreve (front left and right) Louise Cobb, Daniel Bellamy, academy principal Steve Baragwanath, James Bowd and Thomas Baggaley.

Louis (24) presented certificates and awards to ex-year 11 students who have gone on to careers or further studies after exams in the summer.

He also signed autographs and met academy principal Steve Baragwanath, chairman of governors Chris Penney and other guests, including South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes, Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth and Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Tony Worth and his wife Jenny.

“I try to do as much local stuff as I can, although there’s a big demand on my time with different events, especially in London,” Louis said.

“But any chance I can to inspire young people, I take because I like to stand out and give kids the opportunity to look at me and say ‘I can do that.’

“I trained for 20 years for the Olympics and winning those medals was the proudest moment of my life, but I had a lot more fun with Strictly because there was no real stress except for training and performing every week.”

Students presented with awards by Louis included Hollie Fox and Robert King for outstanding academic achievement, Bradley Easey who won the Geoff Capes Award for sporting performance and Fiona Martin who carried on with her studies despite being diagnosed with diabetes.

Academy principal Steve Baragwanath said: “I’d like to thank Louis and all of Team GB for their performances which made us all feel very proud.”