A FORMER Christchurch school pupil who competed in the Paralympic Games last year, returned to the classroom to regale pupils with her sporting tales.

Christchurch-born able-bodied cox Helen Arbuthnot visited The Priory School to talk to youngsters about her experience as part of the Irish mixed coxed four team during last summer’s Paralympic Games.

Helen, who was born in Christchurch, represented the Irish team due to her father’s Irish roots.

And during her visit to her former primary school, she had the chance to catch up with two teachers who taught her.

Head teacher Claire King said: “It was lovely that Helen was able to visit to tell the children about her exciting experience. As an ex-pupil of the Priory, she was able to support our message to the children that you can achieve extraordinary things if you are prepared to try hard.

“Helen shared her passion for and commitment to rowing and demonstrated the role of a cox, engaging the children in a virtual rowing race in the school hall.

“There are two teachers here who taught Helen when she was a pupil and they enjoyed her visit as much as the children.”

Helen joined the Irish crew in 2010 having previously been involved with the Great British rowing programme.

The crew were the first Irish boat to compete at the Paralympic Games.

Helen took to social networking site Twitter later that day to tell her followers: “A very emotional visit back to my primary school today.

“The Priory School CE where it all began, to see two of my teachers too was amazing.”