McGrath touches hearts and minds

Posted on July 11th, 2007

heartsandminds01_2“If I have inspired or given hope to just one person to do one thing a little better or think a little differently about those whose muscles are broken and wasting away, then my life will have been worth something. It is only through our actions that we inspire others”
Michael McGrath

Hebden Green Special Needs School in Winsford, Cheshire and the NeuroMuscular Centre located next to the school were recently visited by motivational speaker Michael McGrath, the only disabled person in the world to have reached both North and South Poles – the school provides for around 110 pupils aged 2 – 19 years who have physical and medical difficulties. Many of the pupils have associated learning difficulties and sensory impairments. The school is rightly proud of its superb June 2007 Ofsted Report which said “Hebden Green is an outstanding school in all respects”

Michael who is also the Chief Executive of The Muscular Help Foundation delivered a thirty minute interactive talk with slides, closing with a short film and what he later described as one of the most ‘animated and fun Q&A sessions’ he had ever encountered – topics covered included:

Famous people & celebrities with disabilities
Muscle / Football / Mobile Phone Texting
McGrath’s universal ‘muscle’ language
North & South Poles, ice, extreme cold
Why caring for our planet matters
Polar Bears, penguins and polo’s!
Having a dream & living your dream
Ambitions & aspirations
A powerful quote to consider
Best school Muscle Salute!
6 minute ‘Reach Beyond’ DVD Film

“I was warmly welcomed by the school’s Assistant Head Teacher Jane Whitaker and very soon could see that this fantastic place of learning had a strong and vibrant community spirit. There were so many colourful paintings and creative pictures adorning the walls of the school corridors – the combination of art and the genuine warm hellos and smiles of staff and pupils as I made my way to the main school hall was so refreshing compared to some of the many companies I’ve visited over the years!” said McGrath.

He goes on to say “I believe that school subjects such as science should not just be taught from a text book. Only by experiencing and visualizing real life issues gleaned from real life experiences can today’s children begin to understand and reflect on the environment around them. Doing so equips them to apply their new found knowledge to other situations in life”.

Coinciding with the International Polar Year, the aim of his visit was to educate, inspire and raise awareness of muscles and muscular dystrophy whilst sharing his polar experiences of both the Arctic and Antarctic. After his talk he spoke with many of the pupils, all of whom wanted their photograph taking with Michael; he met a number of pupils with muscular dystrophy, spending time talking with them.

Through the work of The Muscular Help Foundation, it is hoped that a number of Muscle Dreams will be included (from Hebden Green School) within the charities 1st edition Muscle Dreams booklet currently being planned.

He also organised a special Muscle Quiz Challenge for the school enabling them to learn more about muscles ~ selected at random from the correct entries posted on the morning of McGrath’s arrival at the school, the winner (pictured below) received a signed photograph of Michael McGrath taken at the North Pole.

heartsandminds02There were also two surprise gifts for Hollie, consisting of a special ‘Muscleman T-shirt’ (see pic below) showing all the primary muscle groups of the human body and a large all cotton ‘Muscleman Bath Towel’ (see pic below) generously donated to The Muscular Help Foundation by 3B Scientific.

A few selected comments from Pupils and teachers captured by Jane Whitaker of Hebden Green Special Needs School after Michael McGrath’s talk

“It was awe inspiring”
“It really got to my heart”
“It was inspiring for pupils with the same condition. It proves that your dreams are possible” (from a pupil with muscular dystrophy)
“I’d like to do something similar in the future”
“Absolutely amazing”
“Inspiring and informative”

McGrath also visited the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) which was having its annual Open Day, meeting others with muscular dystrophy, NMC supporters, volunteers, clinicians, and civic dignitaries; the NMC is coincidentally located next door to Hebden Green School.

heartsandminds04McGrath also visited the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) which was having its annual Open Day, meeting others with muscular dystrophy, NMC supporters, volunteers, clinicians, and civic dignitaries; the NMC is coincidentally located next door to Hebden Green School.

It’s Executive Director, Matthew Lanham said “Michael is an inspiration to all he meets. His visit to the NeuroMuscular Centre and Hebden Green School in particular has helped to promote a positive message about disability as well as inspire youngsters to achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations. It’s absolutely essential that young people today are engendered with a positive message about disability, at an early age.”

The NMC is the only of its kind in Europe. It provides a range of unique services and specialist advice with the sole aim of improving the quality of life for adults with neuromuscular conditions, such as muscular dystrophy. The centre provides:


heartsandminds05The charity was founded in 1990 and it is largely run by people with neuromuscular conditions, so it is very well tuned into to what people with neuromuscular conditions need. It is fully accessible and has care and support staff to provide essential help, enabling people to train or work as independently as possible. NMC’s expert team is increasingly advising professionals and people with neuromuscular conditions across the UK.

The NeuroMuscular Centre

Hebden Green Special Needs School website:

3B Scientific
3B logo


Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.