Celebrities inspire Wymondham GCSE students

'All you can do is give it all you've got. Nobody ever regretted trying their best.'These words of wisdom have been written by England rugby ace Jonny Wilkinson, but they are not aimed at his fellow team mates.

'All you can do is give it all you've got. Nobody ever regretted trying their best.'

These words of wisdom have been written by England rugby ace Jonny Wilkinson, but they are not aimed at his fellow team mates.

Jonny is just one of dozens of famous television and sporting stars who have sent in inspirational messages of support to students sitting their GCSE exams at Wymondham High School.

In an attempt to motivate her Year 11 pupils in the run-up to the busy exam period, headteacher Victoria Musgrave bombarded as many celebrities as possible shortly after Easter asking them to write letters of good luck or send in signed photos.

Slowly but surely the replies began to filter in before she had more than 40 photos and messages which were compiled into a colourful Wall of Inspiration and put on display at the school to spur on the students before sitting their tests.

The whole task was done in secret with the students only finding out just before they left the school to go on study leave.

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Mrs Musgrave, who first used the inspirational technique at a school in London, said: 'Staff spend a lot of time trying to motivate pupils but it's nothing like the motivation from media celebrities.

'They're saying never give up, keep going, tenacity will win the day. Teachers also say that but they need to hear from others as well as teachers. Hopefully they'll do better in exams and help them build their confidence.

'We did it as a surprise because we wanted them to feel that we cared about them.'

Those who sent messages include former racing driver Tiff Needell, who said students should take inspiration from the success of Hethel's Lotus team, Norwich player Russell Martin, who provided a motivational Mahatma Ghandi quote, and ex tennis player and television presenter Andrew Castle, who told the students to revise well and stay calm.

The Wall of Inspiration also features signed photos of sporting stars such as Sir Ian Botham, jockey Bob Champion, England rugby player Paul Hodgson, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, Manchester United footballers Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen, and Norwich players Tom Adeyemi and Darel Russell.

Stars of the small screen also feature including The One Show's Christine Bleakley, Cheryl Baker, Coronation Street actors Sue Nicholls, Simon Gregson and Helen Worth, Eastenders actors Barbara Windsor, Steve McFadden and Marc Elliott, and Emmerdale actor Aaron Livesey.

Best-selling author Ian McEwan has also penned a short message, as has newsreader Fiona Bruce and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon.

Mrs Musgrave said her only disappointment had been not receiving any well wishes from the country's three main political party leaders, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

'Considering they say education is their main agenda item I was slightly disappointed but I did ask in the middle of the general election so they were probably very busy. In terms of the pupils the media celebrities are more interesting to them,' she said.

Looking at the wall, headboy Vivek Sharma, 16, from Norwich, said he took inspiration from Sir Ian Botham because he is a cricket fan and Tom Adeyemi due to his Norwich roots.

He said: 'It's really good. It will inspire a few people. They've got good ambition and they're role models to follow.'

Harriet May, 16, from Colton, said she admired Christine Bleakley's good luck message because she came across as a genuine person.

'I think it's quite cool. I didn't think it was real for a start. I thought their 'people' had typed them up and they hadn't written them themselves,' she said.

Ben Soden, 16, from Tacolneston, said: 'It's nice to know that people have gone out of their way. They didn't have to. We were told about it (the wall) but I was surprised to see so many messages.'

Motivational messages featured on the Wall of Inspiration include:

Jonny Wilkinson

'Just a message to wish you all the very best in the forthcoming exams. All you can do is give it all you have got. Nobody ever regretted trying their best.'

Barbara Windsor

'Lots of love and luck to all at Wymondham High School.'

Marc Elliott, who plays Syed Masood in Eastenders

'To all Year 11 students @ Wymondham High, The very best of luck to you all in your GCSEs. Keep revising - it's all worth it.'

Norwich City player Darel Russell

'Work hard, study hard, concentrate on the job ahead. But most importantly do you best! Good luck.'

Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street

'To all the Year 11s at Wymondham High - really good luck for your GCSEs. Hope all your hard work pays off! Remember: knowledge is power!'

Andrew Castle

'Just think how you will feel after your exams if you have done your best. If you revise well and stay calm you will have given 100pc - perfect. And remember GCSEs are not the end of the world or the beginning either. They are just a hurdle to negotiate. Stay cool.'

Tiff Needell

'Jim Clark and Team Lotus were the greatest inspiration for my dream to become a professional racing driver. So let the fantastic effort made by the new Lotus team be your inspiration to achieve the results you need to take you to wherever your dreams may be.'

Norwich City player Russell Martin

'I hope you achieve the success you deserve after all the hard work you have put in. Here is a quote that helped me and it was to do so throughout my career. 'Satisfaction does not come with achievement but with effort. Full effort is full victory.' Mahatma Ghandi. Good luck!'

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk

'I would like to send you may very best wishes and good luck to everyone at Wymondham High who is taking exams. And always remember that in achieving what you wish for persistence and hard work are far more important than talent.'

Headteacher Victoria Musgrave

'I know you have all been working very hard - now is the time to shine. Good luck in your exams.'