PARALYMPICS star Natasha Baker put her motivational skills to good use when she held a Q and A with Year 7 students and sixth-formers at Park Academy in Uxbridge.

Natasha OBE grew up nearby and lives just up the road in Cowley.

The grade III para dressage rider has won 11 gold and five silver medals at senior championships, including three Paralympic Games, in London, Rio and Tokyo. 

The session also served to introduce the younger students to their Applied Transdisciplinary Learning project.

It focuses on creating a new paralympic sport while developing skills in leadership, resilience and diversity.

Natasha told her audience in Park View Road: “There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved in my life, but I feel very lucky that every day…is different. 

“I contracted a viral infection when I was just 14 months old. I went to sleep in my cot one night completely able-bodied and woke up paralysed.

“I was left with weakness and no feeling in my legs. It would have been an incredibly difficult time for my parents but they both have such positive mental attitudes and they brought that up with me.

“They always said I can do anything I want. It may not be in a conventional way, but it will be in the Natasha way and that’s how I live my life.”

Asked by one student about what she would tell her younger self, Natasha, 32, said: “I like to live by the fact I have no regrets because, if you do something wrong, you’ll learn from it.

“I think I would tell my younger self to grab every single opportunity with both hands even if it pushes me out of my comfort zone.” 

Vanya Harris, careers lead at Park Academy, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to hear about the dedication and pure grit that it takes to succeed and be the best in your field. 

“I hope this inspires them all to dream big and never give up.”