Former England hockey star Charlotte Hartley made two visits to Blessed Trinity this month to discuss her international career – and her battles.
Charlotte, 27, from Burnley, is a Sky Sports Mentor and she spoke in a Year 7 class, as well as taking a PE lesson with them, while also talking to a Year 11 English class, who then wrote an article on her as part of their GSCE exam rehearsal.
Former Mansfield High School student Charlotte spoke about the highs and lows of her career, and showed why Sky Sports have selected her as a role modely.
“When I was at primary school, because I was good at sport, I got bullied,” said Charlotte, who won a bronze medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
“To be honest, it made me stronger. It’s not nice but it has all helped me to make me what I am today.
“I am sure if the bullies knew that was going to happen to me then they wouldn’t have done it.”
Charlotte overcame the setbacks and excelled at sport, finding her love for hockey.
It led to Charlotte having trials for England Under 16 hockey team aged 13 - having also had trials for England Under 16 football team at the same time.
Over the next six years, and with the support of her mum and dad driving her all over and supporting her, she competed for her country.
“The Commonwealth Games bronze medal after a penalty shoot-out, as one of the youngest members of the team, was a high for me, but the year after I was dropped from the senior team.”
Charlotte instead went with the Great Britain youth squad to the Sydney Youth Olympics and won gold but, after that, developed an eating disorder.
She was back eating well and training again within a year, and was one of 40 hockey players who went to a training camp for the 2012 London Olympics - but she decided it wasn’t for her.
“I decided to visit the world a bit more and turned professional, playing in Germany, Spain and other countries. It wasn’t big money but it was a great experience.
“Saying that it was hard watching the Olympics and watching my friends fulfil my dreams but that was the path I chose and I accepted that.”
She is now a qualified personal trainer, still regularly runs up Pendle Hill as well as playing for Burnley FC Ladies team and is now a Sky Sports Mentor, with Burnley gymnast Craig Heap, a former St Theodore’s pupil, also one of her colleagues.
She also works for Dame Kelly Holmes’ Legacy Trust and has just taken up boxing for fitness at Hakuda Gym in Burnley.
“I love my job and I look back and I wouldn’t change a lot as it has made me who I am,” added Charlotte.
Blessed Trinity’s English teacher Sarah Webb said: “Charlotte was inspirational and a lot of the students could relate to her.
“They were spellbound.”