Paralympian visits a St Albans school
PUBLISHED: 12:50 18 May 2014
A double amputee Paralympic athlete who was declared dead on the operating table in Afghanistan has inspired pupils at a St Albans school.
Parents, boys and staff at St Columba’s College, King Harry Lane, listened to Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi talk about his journey from surviving the battlefield to representing Great Britain at London 2012.
LCpl Derenalagi told the school that as he lay barely conscious after a bomb blasted him 30 yards into the air he prayed to God.
His promise was: “If you are willing to use my life to motivate and encourage others, then please give me life again.”
After losing both legs above the knee, the soldier was declared dead on an operating table at British military base Camp Bastion before a member of the medical team detected the faintest of pulses.
Since then, LCpl Derenalagi has helped galvanise public support for those seriously wounded in the service of this country, and was pivotal in the creation of charity Help for Heroes.
In addition, he competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
He had specialist prostheses built which had to be resilient to withstand the force of his throwing action to enable him to participate in the discus.
A spokeswoman for St Columba’s said: “His five years between being declared dead to becoming one of the country’s elite Paralympic athletes is an incredible story.
“LCpl Derenalagi’s hard work, dedication and unwavering belief to achieve his goal inspired the audience.”
Welcoming Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi to St Columba’s College were Edward Butler-Caddle, head boy, (pictured above, left), and James De Lord, house captain.