Olympic inspiration for Cambridge school students
8th May 2015

On Thursday 30 April St Mary's School, Cambridge hosted its annual Sports Award Dinner welcoming 190 students, staff and parents to celebrate individual and team sporting achievements.  This year’s event saw Olympic silver medal winner, Gillian Lindsay, address the audience as guest speaker.

Gillian was part of the first Team GB women’s team to win a rowing medal at the Olympic Games; taking silver in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls in Sydney in 2000.  She has competed in three Olympic Games.  On retiring from competition, Gillian held the accolade as Britain’s most successful woman sculler of all time.

Rowing is a very popular option at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, currently exclusively available for Sixth Form students, so the girls were thrilled to hear from the inspirational athlete. Gillian said:It is always a pleasure to take a new audience through my sporting career. Quite simply I started off as the 'little sister who was always slower', I was then introduced to rowing and never looked back.  My journey was decorated with setbacks and frustrations until I connected with my coach Mike Spracklen.  He got the best out of me every day, which eventually led me to my ultimate dream.  Role models were my motivation, but in the end hard work and determination got me there.”



 (from left to right) Gillian Lindsay and Charlotte Avery, Headmistress at St Mary's School, Cambridge


The evening was the school’s opportunity to formally recognise all of its athletes for their achievements in sports ranging from gymnastics to netball to cross country to rowing.  The awards presented on the night included:

  • Most Improved Players
  • Most Valuable Players
  • Most Supportive Team Player
  • Most Dedicated Goal Keeper of the Year
  • Sport Scholar Awards
  • Sports Team Captain of the Year
  • Sports Team of the Year 
  • Games Captain Award

In acknowledgement of students who have gone one step further and been selected to represent their country in their chosen sport, the school launched a new award to recognise their talent, hard work and dedication: the International Sportswomen Award.

  • Esme S., Year 11, has qualified to represent GB in the U20 Duathalon World Championships which is being held in Adelaide, Australia in October.
  • Jemima C., Sixth Form, is the youngest person to date to be accepted onto the GB Rowing Start Programme, which aims to identify and develop potential Olympians.
  • Amber L., Sixth Form, has represented China as an International Artistic Roller Skater.
  • Phoebe C., Sixth Form, has gained a place in the U18 England hockey squad.

Charlotte Avery, Headmistress at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, added: “We have an ethos of sport for all; ensuring every girl has the opportunity to take part in physical activity, join clubs and participate in competitive sport, while nurturing others on route to excellence.  We are extremely proud of all of our girls who take part in competitive and non-competitive sport; whether that is individually or in a team, and the Sports Award Dinner was the perfect platform to recognise these efforts.

“We have many positive role models for our girls, both on the staff and within the student body, including our own Head of PE, Jackie Ewing, who has been Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire County Golf Champion four times! We were delighted to welcome Gillian Lindsay to this year’s Sports Award Dinner; she is an impressive all round athlete and role model for our aspiring rowers.”

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