By Rosa Smith

“DON’T you ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, you can do anything you want,” – these were the inspiring words of Jamie McDonald at today’s prize day.

SGS College welcomed this year’s special guest, Jamie, a Gloucestershire-born adventurer who defied medical expectations and ran 5,000 miles across Canada to raise money for the children’s hospitals who helped him.

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The prize day saw thousands of completing students turn up in order to receive prizes and showcase work from the past academic year.

College principal, Sarah-Jane Watkins, explained how the day was “a great celebration of all that the students here do, and the staff who enable them to succeed.”

Jordan Downes, 18, won the prize for computing, business and GCSE English. He told the SNJ: “I honestly didn’t think I’d win, the year has had its ups and downs.”

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Jordan will be returning to the college in September to study level three business.

Jamie McDonald, who spent the first nine years of his life in and out of hospital due to a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia, as well as a very weak immune system and epilepsy, opened the ceremony with a moving speech to the students, parents and staff.

Explaining how he was told by a doctor at the age of seven that he would spend his life in a wheelchair, Jamie was inspired as he grew stronger to do something to give back to the hospitals who had helped him, and defy all expectations.

After completing a 5,000 mile run across Canada as well as a 14,000 mile cycle from Bangkok to Gloucester, Jamie has raised over a quarter of a million pounds to help ill children.

Often dressed as popular superheroes whilst on his adventures, Jamie has become known as a local superhero. But today he stressed to the students how he as ordinary person, and it is finding the ‘superhero within’ that matters.