Teacher is named memory champ.
Byline: GARETH EVANS Education Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANCES are James Paterson has never had any trouble remembering his times tables.
That's because the teacher, from the Vale of Glamorgan, has been named UK Memory Champion after memorising 79 random digits in order - a new Welsh record for spoken numbers.
He also holds the British record for the number of consecutive random words memorised in order (242) and, at the UK Memory Championships in August, successfully memorised 312 random playing cards - six full decks - in order.
Mr Paterson, who first honed his memory skills as a pupil at Stanwell School, Penarth, won the title after two days of intense competition spanning 10 different tests of mental capacity.
A runner-up at the event four times, newly-crowned champion Mr Paterson is determined to pass on his hints and tips so his students can benefit.
Mr Paterson, who is head of psychology at independent Berkshire day and boarding school LVS Ascot, said: "Memory techniques are an important aspect of learning and I am delighted to be able to pass on key methods and advice to LVS Ascot's students to help them achieve the best possible grades.
"I have run highly successful memory and study workshops here for students, but also for parents as we believe it is important for parents to be able to support their children's learning effectively at home too.
"Memorisation-style revision sessions last term were also a big hit and those that attended commented that the best thing was the stress reduction from knowing that all of the facts and figures were at their fingertips."
The UK Memory Championships serves as a qualifier for the World Championships due to be held in Singapore this December. Mr Paterson has guaranteed himself an invitation to the tournament.
LVS Ascot principal Christine Cunniffe said Mr Paterson's talents would be put to good use in the classroom.
"We are delighted for James that he has achieved such a prestigious accolade and even more pleased that pupils at the school will continue to benefit from his expert knowledge," she said.
"I was delighted by our GCSE and record A-level results last month and hope we can build on these yet further by capitalising on the expert revision techniques we are able to offer students."
Mr Paterson was congratulated on his achievement last week by former US Memory Champion and best-selling author David Thomas, who attended LVS Ascot's staff conference to talk about memory and personal development.
Mr Thomas has also finished third in the World Memory Championships and was impressed by Mr Paterson's performance and his methods of passing on key techniques to make a difference in education.
Last month, Mr Paterson put his knowledge to the test by taking on the BBC's resident quiz champions the Eggheads - and together with a team of teachers from LVS Ascot, came within one question of beating them.
James Paterson has been named UK Memory Champion