Rugby champ visits Somercotes Academy

Ben Cohen meets students and staff in the Fitness Suite at Somercotes Academy. Photo: Sean Spencer.
Ben Cohen meets students and staff in the Fitness Suite at Somercotes Academy. Photo: Sean Spencer.

He’s a rugby union world cup champion - and most recently, the star guest at the annual awards evening hosted by Somercotes Academy.

He’s a rugby union world cup champion - and most recently, the star guest at the annual awards evening hosted by Somercotes Academy.

You’ve guessed it.....it was Ben Cohen, (MBE).

The retired rugby player needs no introduction, after bagging 58 caps and 31 tries scored for England alone during his glorious career.

But recently, he visited students at Somercotes Academy, and had his work cut out for him after he handed out 86 awards at their presentation evening, held at the Riverhead Theatre in Louth.

However just hours before that, he took the time out to meet PE students during a tour of the academy - and shook hands with each ofthe students and teachers.

Ben told them how he fell into rugby by chance at the age of 12, after turning up to watch a friend play and being roped into it because they were short of players.

He explained that despite being told around 40 times he would never make it big, he “kept going back” until Northampton Saints signed him up.

Ben said: “Being told no and losing is character building.

“You need to know not to panic and you will earn so much from these situations and they make you stronger.

“Never be afraid to ask for help, it made me learn a lot faster.”

Ben, who described his career as ‘a fantastic journey’ said that after his sports career ended he was determined to use his high profile to become a role model for others.

He added: “A lot of sports people forego education for sport and then when their career ends they don’t know what to do.

“You have an amazing school here and you should take every single one of the fantastic opportunities it offers you to learn right now.”

Ben is now the founder of his very own StandUp Foundation, which was created in 2011 to help combat bullying and homophobia following the death of his father in a nightclub attack.

Now he channels his time fighting issues he feels passionately about.

During the presentation evening, awards were presented for achievement and progress in the previous academic year.

In her address to the audience at the start of the evening, Somercotes Academy Principal, Frances Green inspired pupils by telling them to take a risk in order to be successful, and to question and challenge in the right way.”

The winner of the most prestigious award of the night, the Chief Executive’s Special Award for Outstanding Student, went to Charlie Brady, who is now studying for his A -Levels at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College.

After receiving his award, Charlie said: “I only joined the Academy in Year 10 after moving here from Kent.

“Somercotes Academy was brilliant - I really enjoyed my time there.”