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All the way from Zambia - Shani

As you are aware, each week at Swainswick Primary we have we a different cultural focus. This week, whilst studying Zambia, we were lucky enough to have Lyson Zula visit the school and allow the children to learn what life in Zambia is like. Lyson was fantastic with the children and provided a wonderful memorable day.

Lyson Zulu was just 17 years old when Nicky Lewis, Bath mum of twins, met him – he was giving a life skills session to street kids in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, using sport as a vehicle, with a particular emphasis on HIV and AIDs. At the end of the workshop he gave each child a slice of bread.

“I remember being in absolute awe of him, bearing in mind I have watched literally thousands of coaches over the years. He blew me away and the kids were captivated. He was the most amazing role model - and he was only 17.”

Nicky was in Zambia as part of a delegate of British Universities who specialise in sports. At the time, she was working for the University of Bath and had taken a handful of students out as part of acollaboration between British Universities and Zambian Sports Organisations.

Lyson was living in the capital city with his Aunt and Uncle, his mother had died of TB when he was ten, his father had left shortly after.

“I thought Lyson was extraordinary, totally inspirational, his charisma, his beaming smile, his empathy and kindness for the children, his maturity at that age. He was incredible.”

The next day Nicky rang her husband Iestyn and told him about Lyson: “I said, ‘We have to support this young man’.”.

Iestyn agreed and the following year Lyson, after months of hard work, was awarded a football scholarship at the University of Bath. Nicky and Iestyn went on to support him, paying his living expenses and becoming his legal guardians in the UK. Lyson graduated from Bath with a foundation degree in Sports Performance and was then offered a place at Loughborough University. He completed his degree a BSC in Sport and Exercise Science in 2010.

Today, Lyson is Head of Football at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Zambia.

He says: “I hope to be an inspiration to many other young people in Zambia and in the world. If you stay focused, determined and work hard, anything is possible.”

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