Sunday, 10 July 2011


Tessa Sanderson CBE who won a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with a record throw 69.56m.
The Drapers' Academy held its first Sports Awards ceremony on Thursday evening and we were delighted that Tessa Sanderson CBE was able to present the prizes.  Tessa runs The Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy in nearby Newham.  It is a charity to help youngsters who are disabled and non-disabled achieve their goals and create opportunities.  For more details go to

She is a highly inspirational speaker and gave an edge of the seat description on the way she won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles against the top competition, including Fatima Whitbread, with an Olympic record throw that proved to be unbeatable. She brought her gold medal along to prove she had won! She also gave a frank account of her desire to succeed, despite coming from a relatively disadvantaged background.

Although the principal purpose of the Academy is not sport focused we are keen to see children enjoy sport.  This year facilities have been somewhat limited as the grounds are being completely dug up and remodelled.  However from late 2012 some excellent facilities will become available across the Academy's twenty-two acre site.

There are some promising sportsmen and women and my congratulations go to Year 8 Boys who won the London School's hockey and the Year 11 boys won the seven-a-side football category in the same competition.  And to pick out a few names of the best: Frederick Bamgbelu (New school record for 300m and relay), Nicola Coutts (New school record for 200m and High Jump) and Joe Moss, David Oni and Gracian Wojciechowski who formed part of the record beating boys' relay team.

A great evening with lots of spirit in evidence.  My congratulations to the PE Faculty for setting all this up  Finally, it was especially good that at the end of the evening the Academy Sports Personality Award was officially renamed the Mayes Cup.  Susan Mayes is retiring after many years at the Academy, and its predecessor schools, teaching PE and in wider leadership roles.  She has given much of her career to help Harold Hill children.  She has also been a strong supporter of the Academy from its earliest stages and this has been of great help.  The name change was a well kept secret and came as a complete, but pleasant, surprise to Susan.

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