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From troubled teen to an example to his peers: Downham Market student Nathan Holland on how he defeated ADHD

PUBLISHED: 11:26 12 October 2017

Nathan Holland changed his life around after going on a pilot scheme with the Jon Egging Trust. Picture: Ian Burt

Nathan Holland changed his life around after going on a pilot scheme with the Jon Egging Trust. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A student turned from a class troublemaker to a role model in his school, all whilst overcoming attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Former Downham Market Academy student Nathan Holland, 18, had struggled in his earlier years in school.

By the time he reached 14, he had been excluded 10 times.

But in Year 9, he was offered to join the Blue Skies programme by the Jon Egging Trust - a project which helps school children develop life skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication.

“If you imagine the worst kid in school - that was me.” Nathan Holland said.

“The aim was to learn about the real world and to learn about yourself - what you could do and push yourself to the best you can do.”

After a series of team building exercises on the 10-week programme in RAF Marham, Mr Holland was made to give a presentation in front of hundreds of people. 
“We were told on the first day about the presentation and I thought ‘no chance’ but they said not to worry, we’ll have the skills to do it.

“That was not easy for us but I realised I was outgrowing my ADHD.”

With newly-found motivation, Mr Holland went on to do well in school, making significant improvements in maths and english and eventually becoming head boy.

He said: “I think it made a good example to other students who think they are underachieving to see someone who can turn that around.”

A year after completing the Blue Skies programme, he reached a milestone in his life when he was taken off medication for ADHD.

“You spend your life kept in a box,” he said. “But you learn how to go without it and it is the best feeling in the world.”

As a way to say thanks to the Jon Egging Trust, Mr Holland completed the Great North Run and raised hundreds of pounds, something he said he would never have thought of doing before.

Mr Holland, from Hilgay near Downham Market, is studying business studies at the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn and has been made student governor.

“To be able to see myself change, it has been the best years of my life,” he added.

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