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Students from across the city heard six inspiring speakers as part of Stoke Damerel's first ever Future Talks event.

The series of talks at the College on 22 November were aimed at inspiring and enthusing high-achieving students from Years 10, 11 and Sixth form.

Key Stage 5 Learning Manager Miss Pinkney, who organised the day with Mrs Brooking the College's careers and employability advisor, came up with the idea at the beginning of the Autumn term after accompanying a group of students to an inspiring day of talks in Exeter.

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"We decided to centre the talks around the theme of overcoming adversity," explained Miss Pinkney.

"I hope it will be come a regular fixture in the College's calendar."

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The speakers on Tuesday were Dr Kevin Rowland who leads and manages services for children with a wide range of complex needs.

Next was Sgt Harry Tangye, an armed response sergeant with Devon and Cornwall Police who said he "met some fascinating staff, guests and students".

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The next speaker was Joanna Traynor an author, psychotherapist and life coach.

"You could have heard a pin drop as she spoke," said Mrs Brooking.

"Her honesty about her incredible life really resonated with the audience."

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Billie Dunne, who founded her own charity Free The Children at the age of just 23, appeared via video link before the sixth speaker Gary Brooking, a lieutenant nursing officer in the Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service.

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He said he was "honoured" to have been invited to take part.

"It was an inspirational morning," he added.

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The final speaker was performance poet and humourist Matt Harvey.

"There was a point during every talk this morning where I had a lump in my throat," he said.

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"At the core of what every speaker said, and what I hope the students take away with them, is the importance of successful relationships with friends and family which give you the courage to risk engaging fully with life."

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 "It's been a real privilege for students to hear our amazing speakers," said Miss Pinkney.

"It was a fascinating morning which I hope will encourage the young people in the audience to expand their horizons even further."

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