Pupils at a village primary school were thrilled to meet a double gold medal-winning Paralympian when she visited to launch her new role - as a children’s author.
Danielle Brown, 29, MBE won gold at the Beijing and London Paralympic Games with Team GB as well as becoming the first disabled competitor to represent England in the able-bodied team event at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, again winning gold.
After a change in the rules meant she was no longer eligible to compete at Paralympic events, Danielle shifted her sights to motivational speaking, disabled sports promotion and working with business and education.
Co-founding organisation 4All, which promotes disability awareness in sport and schools, she was asked to write a series of six books to help overcome the fear and lack of understanding of disabilities that some children have.
Her first book is called The Boy Over The Road, with illustrations by Sarah Bruerton, and she visited Cranwell Primary School to read the story, which is all in verse, to the pupils, emphasising how children with disabilities and special educational needs all have strengths to be proud of. She also answered questions and allowed the eager youngsters to handle her gold medals.
She said: “The book came out less than a month ago, so I have been showing it to schools and talking to the students about the topics that are covered. The book is about disability, diversity and inclusion and it is really important to have those conversations with children and it has been brilliant.”
She went on: “I wanted to be an author at the age of four. To realise that is something I am really proud of. It wasn’t an easy transition after leaving sport four years ago, but I co-founded 4All a year ago and this is part of one of the programmes that we offer.”
One of the characters in the book is inspired by her co-founder’s child who is autistic. She said: “If we could provide strong role models for children, they gain the understanding and awareness and it breaks down those social barriers.
“I can’t wait for the next book to come out as I think that is even better. The themes were already there and the struggles that the autistic character Liam experiences are those faced by the real life character.”
Danielle said: “It is the first time I have done this and as an athlete you are always looking to better yourself, so it has been amazing to get nothing but positive feedback. The most powerful thing is the conversations the children have been having about disability.”
She admitted missing competing and travelling abroad, but said her new role is as valuable to her as a gold medal.
* Danielle suffered constant and chronic pain in her feet as a teenager, eventually being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). She took up archery aged 15, seeing her dominate her field for over seven years.
* She also studied for a law degree, coming away with first class honours.
* Danielle was aiming for Rio, but failed to classify under new rules meaning she could no longer compete at Paralympic events.
* She has now moved into motivational speaking, sport psychology and working with the education and business sectors.