Only disabled man to ever conquer both North and South pole shares story with school children

Michael McGrath (in red) and sports apprentice Jack Morrell at Bishop Wood School in Tring
Michael McGrath (in red) and sports apprentice Jack Morrell at Bishop Wood School in Tring

An inspirational speaker with muscular dystrophy who conquered both the North and South pole has shared his story with Tring school children.

Michael McGrath was diagnosed with the muscle wasting condition when he was 18, but ten years ago he became the only disabled person in the world to reach both the North and South Pole in separate expeditions.

He had completed the gruelling journey to the North Pole in 2002, and returned from a successful trip to Antarctica in January 2004.

Michael, 49, visited Bishop Wood School in Tring to talk to pupils about his incredible life and tell them about The Muscle Help Foundation, of which he is a co-founder.

The charity enables children and young adults with muscular dystrophy live out a dream or fulfil a cherished ambition.

Ahead of Michael’s visit, a quiz all about the 657 muscles in the human body was emailed to parents who were encouraged to donate £6.57 to The Muscle Help Foundation.

The school’s deputy headteacher John Hall said: “Michael spoke about his life and the challenges it presented. It’s great for our children to see that someone with a disability can still achieve great things.

“There were some great though-provoking questions including ‘how do you sleep?’.

“Michael explained that he slept in a normal bed like everyone else, but it was specially adapted so it could be lowered and raised.”

Also present at the talk was sports apprentice and fellow muscular dystrophy sufferer Jack Morrell, 20, from Hemel Hempstead who comes into school four days a week to run sports clubs, join in with PE lessons and coordinate playground games.

Mr Hall said: “We did a lot of work around the Paralympics and we are building on that. Jack gives the children a positive role model.”

For more information about Michael and what he does, visit his website here.