On Friday, 22nd May 2009, Michael McGrath delivered three talks across the day to some 300 pupils and parents of The Felsted Preparatory School in Essex.
Mrs Chris Lee (Head of Yrs3 & 4) said, “I apologise for working you so hard but I know that our pupils will have benefitted from having their eyes opened to the wider world. I hope that, in the long run, brave youngsters suffering from muscular dystrophy will also benefit from the awareness brought about by your talks.
It certainly gave them all food for thought and many members of the Common Room have stopped me and said what a wonderful experience it was for the children. One parent has even e-mailed saying how frustrated she was staying at home for a delivery that did not arrive, but how her daughter has already asked for sponsorship to dance at the disco for Muscle Dreams™, so you have made an immediate impact,” she added.
BBC Look East had scheduled a film crew to come along. However, on the morning of Michael’s arrival, a phone call was received by the school from BBC Look East. “Apparently the phone call indicated that as a direct result of the MP’s expenses debacle, film crew timetables were changed that morning which meant that the Felsted Prep School item was bumped! I know that the school was a little disappointed – it seems that the expenses saga was evidently far more newsworthy,” commented McGrath.
Local media coverage included a piece in The Dunmow Broadcast titled “Pupils Discover Muscle Challenge” (30 May 2009). In addition, the main Felsted Schools website is carrying a piece about Michael McGrath’s talk titled “Explorer Visits Felsted”.
The talks for Yrs 3 & 4 (8-9 yr olds), Yrs 5 & 6 (10-11 yr olds) and Yrs 7 & 8 (12-13 yr olds) came about through a father whose two children attend the Felsted Preparatory School. Ben Cooper successfully bid on a unique auction item (the opportunity to secure Michael’s speaking services) at the charities 2nd Annual London FLagship Fundraiser at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall last October 2008. Pictured below is Ben Cooper with his son Max and daughter Imogen delivering a Muscle Salute™ symbolising hope, courage and inner strength for the 60,000 or so muscular dystrophy sufferers in the UK.
In addition to Michael’s talks, the school supported the work of The Muscular Help Foundation – not only raising over £500.00, but also sharing amongst its stakeholder community information about the charities Muscle Dreams™ programme, that delivers unforgettable experiences for children and young people with muscular dystrophy in the UK, helping them live a dream or fulfil a cherished ambition.
“It is only through our actions that we inspire others, so what I try hard to do is uplift pupil consciousness by engaging the two most important muscles in the human body, the heart and the brain,” said the motivational speaker.
Through the charities innovative Muscle Quiz Challenge, pupils were actively encouraged to learn more about muscles by using the internet to find out the answers to three specific questions. Special prizes included MHF’s sought after Muscle Warrior™ t-shirts and signed photographs of Michael at the Poles. The quiz provided a fundraising platform for donations to be collected and work by the charity has already begun in planning a standalone Felsted Muscle Dream.
Michael said “By exploring the opportunities presented by diversity and specifically disability, pupil’s horizons were broadened and moral, social and cultural beliefs were I hope positively influenced in what was an extremely fun and fulfilling day!”