Aspiring swimmers meet golden hero

Gold star: Josef Craig with youngsters from Woodlea Primary School, Fence Houses.
Gold star: Josef Craig with youngsters from Woodlea Primary School, Fence Houses.
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YOUNG swimmers were thrilled when a sporting hero presented them with medals.

Paralympic gold medal winner, Josef Craig, went along to Woodlea Primary School in Fence Houses to visit the children.

The team are Durham County school champions and Josef, who recently returned from the World Championships in Montreal, Canada, with two gold medals, a silver, and a world record, was delighted to meet them.

Headteacher Philip Adamson said: “It was such a special visit, the children were thrilled by it, the swimming team in particular was over the moon.”

Josef, 16, from Jarrow, has cerebral palsy and took up swimming at the age of nine. In 2011, his career suffered a setback when he was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which affects the thyroid gland and causes severe weight loss, but he was soon back to full strength after an operation.

Josef took along all his medals and awards, including his MBE.

Mr Adamson added: “He is such an inspirational young man to have achieved everything he has at just 16.

“It is amazing, he puts the rest of us to shame.

“He gave a talk to the whole school and from the very youngest child to the oldest members of staff, everyone was moved.”

Josef has achieved national acclaim for his achievements, which include being Great Britain’s youngest 2012 gold medal winner, being named the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and being appointed an MBE, in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to swimming.