Beech Lodge students' faces 'lit up' when they held Tom Dean's Olympic medals

Maidenhead’s Tom Dean met with students and teachers at Beech Lodge School last month (May 18) to talk to them about his journey to becoming a double Olympic champion and one of Great Britain's best young swimmers.

Reflecting on his visit, which included a question-and-answer session in the assembly hall, Tom said the student's faces 'lit up' when they held and wore the gold medals he won in Tokyo for the first time.

Tom (pictured right with students of the school) pipped compatriot Duncan Scott to gold in the 200m freestyle in Japan last year - sparking memorable scenes of celebration in mother Jacquie Hughes' back garden - and then helped Team GB to another gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

Beech Lodge School is a small specialist school for children aged from seven to 18 who require a more supportive and nurturing learning environment to reach their potential. Tom described his visit to the school as 'really special'.

“It was absolutely brilliant, and I’ve just got home to my family now and I was telling them all about it,” he said.

“It’s local to myself, and I’m a big fan of trying to do things in my local area. I try to do things for the Marlins Swimming club and school visits like this are brilliant. It's an incredible place and I always knew what the set up was there, but it’s not until you go there that you realise how amazing a place this purpose-built school is, helping these students who would struggle in a traditional school system. It was so great, I met all the teachers and all the students, I signed a lot of posters that they made for me, I gave a Q&A in assembly.

“It was a special day. It was so good to give back and to show these kids Olympic gold medals in the flesh, to talk about my journey and to be a sports person from their area, who’s still competing and to show them that it can be done by people from Maidenhead and the hard work has really paid off.

“Everyone’s face lights up when they hold a gold medal for the first time, I know mine sure did. They all put it around their necks and passed it around, it was really special.”

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