A former teaching assistant – better known as a silver-medal-winning Paralympian – paid an inspirational visit to her old school in Norwich yesterday.

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Archer Mel Clarke worked at Bignold Primary School, at Wessex Street, for eight years until she left to begin training full time in 2007 ahead of the Beijing Paralympics.

Five years later, she is now in possession of a bronze medal from the 2008 Games and an even-more inspiring silver from London 2012.

Miss Clarke, who used to live in Taverham, took along her silver medal and Olympic torch for pupils at Bignold Primary to see.

She said: “They seemed to have loved it. They were all smiling and laughing and asking questions.

“It’s nice to share my experiences and share the things I’ve done.

“The Paralympics and Olympics are still very much in the news and in the memories of the kids.

“They are the athletes of the future so, if I can show them real things from the Games, hopefully it will encourage them to be more active.”

Some of the school’s oldest pupils can still remember Miss Clarke from her time working at the school and were delighted to see her back again.

The archer, who now lives in Worcester having moved there to help her training, was a teaching assistant for youngsters in years one and two at the school.

During yesterday’s visit, pupils asked questions about London 2012 including “was it noisy?” and “were you scared?”.

Rachel Barker, reception teacher, said youngsters were also interested to hear how hard Miss Clarke had had to work to win her medals.

She added: “Most of the children saw the Olympics and Paralympics on the television. I teach the youngest children and even they were very much into it and very excited when they knew Mel was coming.

“Lots had spent the morning making medals out of silver card to show her.”

Clare Cook, headteacher at Bignold Primary, said: “We’re so proud to have a Paralympian, who used to work at this school, come and meet the pupils, to talk about her experiences and show her medals.

“What a wonderful legacy for Bignold.”

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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