Lancing Prep Worthing pupils meet Alison Lapper MBE
Alison Lapper MBE visited the school to share her experiences and speak about her work as an artist in a whole Prep school assembly, with a group of Lancing College 3rd formers also in attendance. Alison spent the rest of the morning with Year 3 and Year 4 pupils in art workshops, where they undertook painting as mouth and foot artists, banned from using their hands in any way.
Alison’s talk was both inspiring and full of humour. She spoke of her determination from an early age to overcome the challenges of her disability and to prove wrong all those who told her that she would never be able to go to university, to live independently, give birth to and care for a child, or to make a living as a professional artist. She was proud to be the subject of a sculpture by Mark Quinn which was displayed on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. It has become an iconic image around the world, including the London 2012 Paralympics, and done much to bring to the fore discussion about perceptions of physical disability.
She had brought some of her work as a professional artist to show to the school, including examples of her greeting card designs and a stunning portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan dancing, which she is planning to give them to mark their wedding.
The pupils bombarded her with questions at the end of the assembly including her favourite style of art (figurative and landscapes), how else she earns a living (after dinner and motivational speaking), what different things lie ahead (TV and radio presenting) and what part of her life she is most proud of (her son).
Her advice to the pupils was to be inspired to do their best, to go for their goals and not to let anyone discourage them from what they want to achieve.
Francesca Milling, Head of PSHE, arranged the visit with Alison and was delighted with the outcome. She commented, “It was wonderful for our pupils to learn something of Alison’s work and to hear her perspective on life. The children were buzzing with so many questions that we could have spent all day just talking and listening to her!”
The Art workshops were hugely entertaining, with the children grappling with paper, paintbrushes, paint palettes and water pots, using only their mouths and feet. Alison shared tips and hints with them and their persistence with the task was commendable, learning to collaborate and work together. They were so impressed with how easy Alison made it all look but soon found out it was rather more difficult to put into practice.
Heather Beeby, Head of Lancing Prep Worthing, strongly believes in extending pupils’ learning beyond the curriculum, “It was so important for our children to hear such a positive message about having the confidence and the drive to overcome whatever challenges come your way to achieve your goals. We constantly seek to enrich our pupils’ learning and they, and we, will never forget the impression Alison has made here today. We are so grateful to her for spending the morning with us."