On Tuesday 13th December I travelled back to my hometown Cheam in Surrey for the first time in three and a half years. It was a very surreal trip to go back to where I grew up having not been there for so long and my first stop was to check out my gold postbox in Cheam Village!
After the London 2012 Olympics the Royal Mail painted a postbox gold for each British gold medallist at the Games. I thought this was a fantastic idea and even better when I heard the postboxes would be staying gold forever. I was so happy to see my postbox in Cheam was still looking a dazzling shade of gold and stopped to take a few photos.
I hadn't just made the journey to Cheam to see my postbox and was actually there to visit my old school - Nonsuch High School for Girls. I studied there all the way from year 7 to 13 and it was at Nonsuch that I was talent spotted by British Cycling many years ago. I begun my afternoon with a full school assembly (approximately 1300 girls as well as teachers) in the sports hall where I entered (to my surprise and delight!) to applause and cheers from the students! I then spoke with the GCSE and A-Level PE groups to give a bit more insight into the life as an elite athlete. I was very pleased to see some teachers still there who had taught me and enjoyed taking a tour of the school and seeing their new facilities.
In the evening I was the guest speaker at the A-Level Prize Giving Celebration and I gave a speech about my journey from school girl at Nonsuch to Olympic Champion including some of the setbacks I've faced along the way and how I've overcome them. The interesting thing about this is some of my old teachers will remember me as a student and how nervous I used to get for public speaking! How times have changed!
Overall I had a brilliant day, it was so surreal to be back but also so much fun and it was wonderful to get such an amazing reception from the students.