On Monday 15th October, we were privileged to have a visit from Ade Adepitan. For some of us, he is a Paralympian, captaining the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team over several years; for others he is a presenter from CBBC and Channel 4 and for others he is a face of Children in Need. He visited Longacre, however, in his present role as a children’s author.
He explained to the Prep School about his life in Nigeria, his battle with polio as a 15 month old and his move to London as a toddler. He enthralled us with pictures of him as a child, wearing calipers to help strengthen the left side of his body, frilly nappies as a baby and the pink velour suit his Mum made him wear on his first day at school in England. He drew laughter when he explained that his friends used to push him around in a shopping trolley, through the streets of London, so that he wouldn’t be left alone. He has drawn on these experiences to write the first book of a trilogy called Battle of the Cyborg Cat; his alter ego.
He was extremely entertaining and engaged the pupils with a reading of a chapter, his tales of journeys to faraway lands and tricks on his basketball wheelchair (very impressive!). I think the most inspiring message from the visit was that his wheelchair and disability has never been a barrier for him and that we should all follow our dreams and grab every chance to love and live our lives.
He was particularly impressed with the questions asked by our pupils and as you can imagine, there were a few left field ones. I think my personal favourite was “Why have you had so many jobs?” After much laughter, he concluded that it must be because life is for living; what an excellent message to leave us with.