FORMER Mansfield High School pupil Charlotte Hartley has signed up as one of 48 athletes for sprint legend Darren Campbell’s team of Athlete Mentors, visiting secondary schools across the UK this academic year as part of Sky Sports Living for Sport.
A Commonwealth Games bronze medalist at hockey with England, the 26-year-old started playing hockey at Mansfield after being encouraged by her PE teacher.
She quickly progressed to representing the North of England and then competing on the England Under 16 team.
Charlotte was bullied for being good at sport, the stress of which resulted in her developing alopecia, causing more bullying.
Despite this setback Charlotte believes that the experience made her even more determined to become the best athlete she could be.
She went on to play for both England Under 18s and Under 21s, and at the age of 17 was playing for the England Senior B team.
In 2005, she was called up to play in the KT Cup in Korea for the England Senior Team, winning gold in that tournament.
Charlotte’s proudest achievement came in 2006 when she was one of the youngest members selected to represent England at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
The following year she represented Great Britain in the Sydney Youth Olympics, where her team won gold.
Unfortunately, shortly after Charlotte developed an eating disorder which ended her international career.
In 2009/10, Charlotte played professionally for clubs in New Zealand and Spain but has now retired from professional sport and concentrates on her career as a personal trainer, as well as coaching.
On life as an Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport, Charlotte said: “I take great pride in the part I play in motivating and inspiring young people to take up sport.
“Whilst at high school, I would have loved the opportunity to meet someone who had competed at a high level.
“For me, it’s just a great way of sharing my experiences and knowledge to educate and help others choose the right paths in life.”
Now in its ninth year, the free secondary schools initiative delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust aims to help improve the lives of thousands more young people across the UK.
Sky Sports Living for Sport uses sport stars and sport skills to help students improve all areas of their lives.
The 2012/13 Athlete Mentors have been specially selected because of their inspiring journeys to success, and will be visiting secondary schools to motivate pupils and encourage them to apply the life lessons they’ve learned through sport.
When a school runs a Sky Sports Living for Sport project, they receive up to two visits from an Athlete Mentor who shares their life story with the students, talking about their sporting career, and sharing the challenges they have had to overcome to achieve success.
The visits are designed to inspire the students, and demonstrate that that lessons learned through sport - such as mental toughness and planning for success – can help them achieve their own goals in life.
With the help of free online project planning tools and T-shirts, over 2,700 schools have reaped the benefits of Sky Sports Living for Sport since it launched nine years ago.
This year will be the biggest ever for the initiative, which aims to send Athlete Mentors to 1,500 UK secondary schools to provide inspiration to participating students.
Secondary schools can learn more about Sky Sports Living for Sport and sign up today at www.skysports.com/livingforsport