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Humanities Conference with Patrick Smith & Blind Dave Heeley

Over 200 students had the pleasure of welcoming both ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley and Patrick Smith.  These are just some of the comments about the afternoon which was absolutely enthralling.  

“Watching Patrick Smith, the Chairman from Bromsgrove British Legion talk to us was great. His stories about the Balkan war in the 1990s and his time in the army were amazing. I have seen him in town a few times with his miniature horse, Peanut, but I ever thought he would have so many good stories to tell.  This talk shows that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover; it was sad to find out that he suffers from PTSD, however, I think that it's incredible that he still comes to schools to tell children and teachers his inspiring stories about the adventures he has had. From seeing a man walking his horse in town I never would have guessed that he was the Queen's own personal medic and a respected medic in the army. He showed that if you work hard enough you can achieve almost anything in life.

Dave, aka, ‘Blind Dave’, has raised millions of pounds for charity was also great and he made people laugh during his talk. It is cool to see that even if you are blind you can still achieve great things. For example, he ran seven marathons in seven days across all seven continents and he was the first blind person to do it. He answered all the questions in detail.  Despite being visually impaired he is still a happy person and doesn't think that being blind should effect what he can do. He also brought in his fourth guide dog who is a German Shepard but is sadly retiring soon. His stories about him going through his adult years blind show that if you persevere, even blindness can't hold you back.”

Ioan Roberts (Year 9)

“I really enjoyed listening to Patrick Smith and Blind Dave on Friday afternoon. I thought their stories were interesting.

Patrick told us that he had helped saved thousands of lives all across the world when he was working. I liked how he didn’t give up on what he wanted to be, even though he wished that he would have done better in his GCSEs exams. I found it interesting when he started talking about how he used to work for the royal family for 2 years.  I thought he would say that they are really posh but he said that he they were down to earth - that surprised me a bit.

I also thought that Dave was interesting as he has run many marathons all over the world, even though he is blind. I liked how he set himself challenges and managed to achieve them, like how he became the first blind person to run the seven-marathon challenge. I think it would be hard trying to run and not being able to see where you are going. I can’t believe he did it.

I think both Patrick and Dave’s message- you can do anything, if you are determined is very inspirational. Thank you for inviting them to speak to us.”

From Amy Lavender (Year 9)

“I found the talks from Blind Dave and Patrick inspirational. The talks helped me to see that no matter what circumstances you are in, you can still get through them and achieve so much. Personally, I think Blind Dave’s talk had more of an effect on me as me and my family have sight issues, and he talked about how he has overcome them. Both of the talks also made me realise how much I have, and how I should appreciate what I have more. I also found Patrick’s talk inspirational as after all he had been through he was still able to get up and speak in front of us all.  I also think that these talks are a good way for children to realise what is happening to other people and how we should have respect for people like Blind Dave and Patrick after all they have been through.”

Hannah Denby (Year 9)

“I thought that this afternoon was fascinating, and I am grateful to have Blind Dave and Patrick to talk to us.  When Patrick talked to us, I realised how hard it must have been for him to get to where he is, and I felt privileged to have someone talk to us who is so well respected in the army.   I admire how brave he was to live in places like Kosovo, especially after all the history lessons that we have had about WW1 and the living conditions in a war zone.  I also admire the fact that he used to be the medic for the royal family.

I thought it was interesting when Blind Dave told us about how he got to where he is and about some of the struggles that he faced whilst becoming blind.  His talk was very inspirational and helped me to realise how hard it is for someone with a loss of a sense. Also, how technology had improved to help people like Blind Dave, for example when he told us a bit about some of the technology that he uses in everyday life. “

An Lam (Year 9)