Former footballer Fabrice Muamba, who almost died during a game, returned to his former school today to talk to pupils about the importance of education.
The ex-Bolton midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in 2012.
This forced him to end his career, but the 26-year-old claims it is because of his education at Kelmscott School in Walthamstow that he now has a second chance of success.
He said: “I was in London so I wanted to come in.
“This school has been a major part of my life in terms of my football career and my studying. I have a very strong relationship with them.
“Now that I have retired I have gone back and used what I learnt at school to enable me to have a career as a sports journalist.
“I am so thankful that I came to this school.
“It is important to me that everybody is given a chance and everybody is given an education. So many young boys want to be footballers but I tell them that it is important to study as well.”
Mr Muamba moved to Leyton from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa aged 11, before moving to Higham Hill later on.
His first encounter with the English education system was at the school in Markhouse Road.
“There was a support system when I came in and the teachers would take me away and teach me on-to-one,” he added.
“In my year there people from all kinds of different backgrounds and cultures, we got to appreciate other cultures through the people in our classes.
“I couldn’t praise one particular teacher here - the whole school has helped me.”
Kelmscott School led by Lynnette Parvez, was judged by Ofsted as requiring improvements in 2012, but has since been praised for its progress and won an award for student’s progress this year.
The majority of pupils at the school speak English as a second language and many come from deprived areas.