Ex-Marine who cheated death in helicopter crash shares inspiring story with Horsham pupils

The pupils learned how to overcome adversity
The pupils learned how to overcome adversity

An injured veteran gave an inspiring talk to a group of Horsham pupils.

Farlington’s senior school pupils were given a moving assembly by Making Generation R - Resilience Through Inspiration.

Former Farlington parent Archie Naughton told his powerful and inspiring story about how he has overcome adversity.

Archie was a helicopter pilot in the Marines when he suffered three serious accidents in one year.

These were a car crash, a motorcycle accident and when his helicopter crashed into the sea from an aircraft carrier.

As a result, he lost a leg and was told to give up hope of continuing his flying career.

Rather than give up, he gained a private licence and continued to fly to oil rigs and, then, as a jet airline pilot.

He said this was down to being ‘simple minded’; when he hit a block he just found a way round it.

Penny Hart, head of years 10 and 11 and wellbeing co-ordinator, said: “Archie was incredibly generous with his story.

“He not only demonstrated how to stay driven in difficult situations, he also gave a valuable insight into the world of the military and life beyond school.”

The talk was followed by a workshop for year nine.

During the session they examined issues in more depth in order to develop resilience and healthy behaviours.

Facilitated by Lotte Johnson, the workshop allowed students to talk about issues that might affect them.

It also taught positive coping mechanisms that could help them.

The campaign is organised by Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans, and the creative social enterprise, The Drive Project.

The aim is to inspire and motivate young people to develop strategies to deal with everyday issues, while also giving injured veterans a purpose and positive role in their communities.

The project’s ambition is to help create a generation of resilient young people by giving inspiration from others who have overcome their own difficulties.

Penny added: “The talk and workshop were really valuable for our students.

“It complements the resilience training that is given to Farlington students to help them with emotion control and awareness, problem solving, assertiveness, peer relationships and decision making.

“The workshop meant that the students could consider adversity in situations they might well face and how to address those issues in a positive manner.”