A FORMER paratrooper who lost his left forearm in service gave a talk about his charity work at Langtree School
A FORMER paratrooper who lost his left forearm in service gave a talk about his charity work at Langtree School in Woodcote.
Jaco van Gass, from Nettlebed, was injured when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009.
He now uses a replacement limb and has run several charity marathons and trekked to the North Pole alongside Prince Harry and other wounded former servicemen.
He has competed in the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team and hopes to represent Britain as a cyclist in the 2016 Paralympics at Rio. Mr Van Gass, 28, gave a speech to the whole school, telling pupils what mattered was not the challenges they faced in life but how they dealt with them.
Headteacher Rick Holroyd said: “Jaco’s presentation was truly inspirational and left students, staff and visiting governors with much to reflect upon.
“He has achieved amazing successes in spite of his disabilities as a result of his unswerving resilience, determination and courage.
“There were many messages in this wonderful presentation to inspire us all to do the same in our own lives.” Meanwhile, Mr van Gass has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Newport International Paracycling Cup later this month.
The three-day event counts as a qualifying event for track cycling at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. He is one of 11 cyclists selected to take part.
Last year Mr van Gass won two gold medals at the Invictus Games in the men’s cycling time trial and the circuit IRB2.
He then won another gold in the C1-5 mixed gender 200m flying lap at the British national track championships in Manchester.