Ex-Marshland pupil starring in Strictly
While paralympian Jody Cundy has been showing off his new-found talents on the Strictly Come Dancing dance floor, staff and students at Marshland High School have been cheering on our former student - and are hoping he can keeeeeeeeeep dancing and progress again this weekend.
The picture shows Jody on 17 November 1990 then in Year 7 at Marshland after being selected for Eastern England Paraplegic Swimming Team Training for the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The gold medallist cyclist and former swimmer, who was born in Wisbech and attended Marshland High School, has represented Great Britain at seven summer Paralympics, and is currently taking part in the twenty-first series of the BBC’s iconic dance show.
Despite suffering an infection in his leg that affected his ability to practise, the 44-year-old and his dance partner Jowita Przystal made it through to this weekend's round of the competition after radio presenter Nikita Kanda and her partner Gorka Marquez become the second couple to be eliminated from this year’s contest.
Marshland PE teacher Maria Beck described Mr Cundy as “competitive and determined” during his time at the school, which is a member of the West Norfolk Academies Trust.
“Since he started his Strictly journey, we’ve all been putting our heads together for some anecdotes and just wonderful memories of this competitive and determined boy, as he was when he was 11, and he turned into the wonderful champion that he knew he would become,” she said.
“We’re huge fans of Strictly and Jody, and we’re very excited that an ex-pupil of our Marshland High School is on such a wonderful and massive show,” she continued. “He’s such a role model for everybody.”
She added that the young sportstar had a good sense of humour, and that the schoolboy’s prosthetic leg would sometimes become “slightly detached” when he didn’t want to do something “like running around the athletics track”.
“Obviously Strictly is a completely different ball game. But I’m sure he’ll want to try and do the very best he can,” she continued.
Mr Cundy, whose impressive sporting achievements include eight Paralympic Gold medals, one Silver and three Bronze, as well as 23 world title wins, has returned to Marshland on several occasions since graduating from the school, showing the students his medals, officially opening the new sports hall, and also speaking at a prize giving.
“It is incredible to think someone from our small Marshland High School has gone on to achieve so much,” added Mrs Beck. “He had already decided he was going to swim for England when he joined the school at 11 years old. Not only that, he had decided he was going to win Gold medals.
“We’ve all been watching Jody on Strictly – and voting for him. My whole family are voting for him! I hope he gets to dance for a few more weeks yet, but the competition is tough with a high level of dance this year.”