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College students given inspiring talk by military veteran

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) students recently had the privilege of attending a talk by military veteran Mark Harding.

Last year, Lance Corporal Mark Harding, a paralysed war veteran, completed a walk of almost 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End on crutches – all to raise funds for bereaved military children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Year 1 A level students and Uniformed Public Services (UPS) students were lucky enough to experience a talk from Mark about how he overcame adversity.

In 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, Mark was shot through the neck. His C5 and C6 spinal segments were completely shattered, resulting in him becoming paralysed from the neck down. Despite being told multiple times that he would never walk again, Mark slowly started to regain some movement, this demonstrates to our students to have higher aspirations and anything you put your mind to is possible.

Some 13 years after the incident, Mark became the first disabled person to walk the entire length of the UK – walking for 85 days. Mark raised an incredible £36,037.05 for bereaved military children.

Through his great efforts in raising money for charity, Mark received recognition from His Majesty the King.

Mark said: “The recognition I’ve received is amazing, especially from the King. It blows me away to think I wrote a letter to the King and Queen, and they actually took the time to read it and respond. I think it really just highlights how important the cause is that even the Royal family took the time to acknowledge it.”

Liz Nuttall, Head of A Levels, said: “It was an honour to have Mark talk to our students. He’s a great role model for them to look up to, and his incredible journey supports this. I think each of the students who attended came away from this talks feeling inspired and privileged in being able to get these opportunities to support their learning at BTC.”

Mark added: “I would like to say thank you to Bridgwater & Taunton College for having me down to speak to their students, especially those from the Uniformed Protective Services. It was an absolute honour speaking to you all, and I wish you all the best for the future. Thank you to The Athlete Media Group for making it happen!”

Mark’s talks told the story of his journey, during his time in the military and beyond, his resilience and how he has overcome adversity.

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