Northampton paralympic champ Ellie Robinson visits thrilled pen pal at school
A nine-year-old Northamptonshire pupil was left grinning from ear-to-ear after her swimming idol Ellie Robinson paid her a visit at school.
As part of a school activity to learn how to write letters at The Bramptons Primary School, in Chapel Brampton, year four pupil Brooke Dibra, nine, chose to pen a message to her swimming idol Ellie Robinson to tell the MBE recipient why she inspired her.
The exercise taught the pupils how to write letters and make contact with inspirational people so they could, in turn, pass on the art of perseverance.
Brooke, who often swims with her dad at Danes Camp Leisure Centre, was over the moon when Ellie decided to write back.
She said: "The reason why Ellie inspired me is because she is so brave carrying on swimming even though she had the hip injury.
"I saw the letter and I couldn’t stop smiling."
Ellie Robinson, the Great Houghton teenager, shot to international fame in September 2016 when millions of TV viewers watched her win butterfly gold at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Northampton Swimming Club member followed her aquatic heroics by topping a poll of the British public to win BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2016 - traditionally a nod, not just to sporting achievement, but also a display of the nation's affection - joining past winners such as Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney and Tom Daley.
Ellie, who stands at about four feet tall, has achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism, which is the same condition as her idol and fellow swimmer Ellie Simmonds.
She said instead of writing to Brooke she thought she would pay her a visit instead.
"Obviously I had this letter form Brooke and I just thought it would be really nice to meet her.
"I just can’t pass up this opportunity.
“I really enjoy visiting all schools and I think it’s really important to give back as well."
Ellie, who is among the youngest ever MBE recipients, is now in training for the Glasgow 2018 European Aquatics Championships next month before she sets her sites on the international stage for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.