Lincolnshire school honours Sophie Wells OBE
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A Lincolnshire school sports hall has been named after Sophie Wells OBE, one of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians, following student feedback from a group of 15 Year 9 students.
The original sports hall at William Farr C of E School, in Welton, was opened along with the school in 1952 and though updated and extended has never been officially named. Year 9 students, however, wanted to change that and felt a new name would better reflect the inclusive modern atmosphere of the school, so they wrote to headteacher Jonathan Knowler asking for his agreement to name the sports hall after a female role model as most of the existing buildings were named after men.
Headteacher Jonathan Knowler said he was delighted to receive and agree to such a good idea. The student council carried out a survey amongst 1200 students as to which sportsperson they wanted the sports hall to be named after. The winning vote was for Sophie Wells OBE, a highly decorated Paralympian in the equestrian sport of Para Dressage.
Sophie, 32, who is from Lincoln, opened the newly named ‘Wells Sports Hall’ in front of invited students, staff and ex-students from the Welton school, and went on to do a talk and question and answer session for the pupils.
“Sophie had demonstrated perseverance and determination throughout her sporting career – matching one of the core values of William Farr School. As a female role model she has inspired so many other people,” said one of the school's students.
“I am exceptionally proud of the students for their creativity, passion and dedication to this idea. When I was approached I knew it was a fantastic idea and it was a straightforward decision for me,” commented Sophie.
Sophie Wells OBE won three medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and two Golds and one Silver at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Most recently, she won Team Gold and Individual Silver at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The latest honour comes a decade after a post box on Lincoln’s Exchequer Gate was painted gold in celebration of the Lincolnshire rider's success at the Paralympic Games.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be given this honour. It is a personal first as I have never had a building named after me. It is particularly exciting that the idea came from the students themselves,” said Sophie. “It has always been important for me to try to be an ambassador and a role model for young female athletes and I hope this inspires others to achieve their dreams.”