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Flying Scot drives message on importance of a good education.

Byline: NICOLA JUNCAR

PUPILS at a North East academy have been inspired by a visit from motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart.

Otherwise known as "The Flying Scot", Sir Jackie - one of the greatest Formula One racing drivers in history - spent a day at Excelsior Academy in Newcastle's West End meeting pupils and encouraging them to aim high and work hard to overcome challenges they may face.

Since retiring from Formula One in 1973, after winning three World Drivers' Championships, 71-year-old Sir Jackie went on to become a successful businessman.

He also became president of "Dyslexia Scotland", a charity which is close to his heart after discovering he was dyslexic at the age of 42.

He has since pledged more than pounds 50,000 to help young people and adults with dyslexia reach their full potential and was keen to speak to pupils at Excelsior Academy who have the condition, which is usually associated with difficulties in reading, writing and spelling.

He said: "One of the greatest losses in my life is that I have had no education. My dyslexia was not recognised and I felt a failure - the unhappiest days of my life were at school.

"I want to let pupils know that anyone with dyslexia can reach their true potential, with the right support and guidance from school.

"It's important to let young people know that if they have the right attitude, and strive to be the best at whatever it is they choose to do in life, they can succeed."

Pupils in each of Excelsior Academy's four schools - Armstrong, Hadrian, Jefferson and Milburn as well as the sixth-form Excelsior College - were able to spend time with Sir Jackie.

He concluded the day with a presentation to pupils, parents, staff and governors.

Executive principal Phil Marshall added: "We were delighted that Sir Jackie Stewart accepted our sponsor Lord Laidlaw's invitation to spend the day at Excelsior.

"He was very impressed by our Academy's facilities, the good behaviour and attitude of Excelsior pupils and the quality of education we offer."

CAPTION(S):

CHAMPION Jackie Stewart during his hey day INSPIRATIONAL Three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart at Excelsior College
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2011
Words:362
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