UFC star inspires Hornchurch students with fighting talk

Rachel Shodeinde Head Girl, Mayor of Havering Cllr Linda Trew, Daniel Towler Head Boy and Luke Barn

Rachel Shodeinde Head Girl, Mayor of Havering Cllr Linda Trew, Daniel Towler Head Boy and Luke Barnett. - Credit: Archant

A UFC fighter has spoken to prize-winning pupils about his journey to Stateside stardom.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) performer Luke Barnatt, standing tall at 6ft 6in and nicknamed Bigslow, started out as a 17-year-old Tae Kwon Do student at a club run by Adam Thrones, now headteacher at The Albany in Hornchurch.

And last week he dropped in to the school’s annual awards bash at the Queen’s Theatre, in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, to speak to youngsters about the importance of setting goals and not letting negative people affect your ambitions.

The Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) performer, who hails from Chelmsford, even jokingly squared off with Daniel Towler, head boy at the Broadstone Road school, who is a ju-jitsu black belt himself.

“I really appreciate being invited to speak!” said Luke, whose nickname was given to him by his American peers when he first trained with them. “I thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a positive experience. It’s great to see so many people achieve so much with limitless potential.”

Mayor of Havering, Cllr Linda Trew, was guest of honour at the celebratory evening.

Head Boy Daniel said: “It was really exciting meeting Luke. He was polite, friendly and very chatty and offered lots of good advice.”

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Assistant headteacher Gary Wimbush said: “Luke’s speech was truly motivational, he spoke about not letting negative people influence you in your ambition to achieve your goals”.

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