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Jonnie's Blade Camp: 'Seeing these kids succeed was so special!'

Jonnie's Blade Camp
Jonnie Peacock will be mentoring five young amputees. (Image credit: C4)

Jonnie's Blade Camp on C4 will see legendary Paralympian Jonnie Peacock mentoring five extraordinary young amputees, who are determined to live life to the full. 

Jonnie wowed millions of viewers with his spectacular routines on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2017, but the double gold medal winning Paralympian also inspired young amputees all over Britain. The two-time 100 metre champion wanted to show that having a disability didn’t mean you had to give up on your dreams. 

In this four-part series he’ll be training the youngsters in a bid to raise their confidence and help them achieve goals, whether they are playing football or simply being able to keep up with their friends. Jonnie, 28, tells us more… 

Jonnie Peacock on making Jonnie's Blade Camp

"A few years ago we had the idea to get some kids with prosthetics up to Loughborough and show them how we train and let them go out and try it for themselves and feel better about themselves. 

"It was a boatload of fun and such a rewarding experience, but the most important message is that these are normal kids that something has happened to and they show how strong and adaptable humans can be."

Jonnie's Blade Camp

Jonnie Peacock won gold in the 100m at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. (Image credit: C4)

Jonnie Peacock on the youngsters in the series...

"Thomas, who's 12, is one of the most positive kids I’ve ever met and Harvey is just a bundle of energy, even though he was only eight. Mitchell was the oldest and he was mature beyond his years, while Maisie, who’s 10, was an absolute inspiration. 

"She lost both legs after contracting meningitis when she was a baby, but her determination to succeed was amazing. Liv, who’s 12, was a bit unsure when she first arrived, but it was great to see her confidence improve. 

"Liv has a different prosthetics, including one that looks very life-like and one that's more mechanical. Towards the end I was so pleased to hear she’d gone out with her friends wearing the mechanical one as that showed she was really proud of who she was and how much confidence she'd gained." 

Jonnie's Blade Camp

Maisie lost both her legs after contracting meningitis as a baby. (Image credit: C4)

Jonnie Peacock on the series' emotional moments

"When I saw Maisie for the first time we did some cool stuff straight away and after 10 minutes her dad was in tears. He said he’d never seen her move like that before. Sometimes parents go into protective mood, which is very natural. Maybe they were questioning if their kids were going to be able to do it, so to see the succeed was very emotional for them. 

"I lost my leg at the age of five and I always said it was harder on my mum than it was on me, because at that age you don’t really understand what’s going on. Some of these parents might have been questioning whether their children could do these things, so to see them succeed was really special."

Jonnie Peacock on how Liv was helped by Strictly..

"Liv and her dad were hit by a drunk driver as they were driving home one night she woke up in hospital with her leg amputated, not knowing what the future held for her. To hear that she saw me on TV and that helped her through a difficult time was a really emotional moment. 

"One of the reasons I went on Strictly was to help people like her realise they could still do things, so that was special. I was terrified of making a fool of myself when I went on that show, but only because I was a terrible dancer! I usually only dance when I'm completely leathered and I know I won't remember it!" 

Jonnie's Blade Camp

Jonnie works with Liv, who saw him appearing on Strictly from her hospital bed. (Image credit: C4)

Jonnie on being a role model for young amputees

"It’s really important, as I can’t remember having any disabled role models when I was growing up! Not even close! I loved David Beckham as he had blonde hair like me, so I'll take that I guess, maybe I saw myself in there somewhere. 

"The world’s changing and we’re getting far more representation. As a society we didn’t see as many disabled people on TV as we do now and that’s a brilliant thing!"

Jonnie Peacock on the increase in kids using blades

"The NHS actually started prescribing them to children after the Rio Paralympics. They’re a bit more expensive than prosthetic legs, yet people finally saw them as a necessity for youngsters who wanted to do sport and live their lives without limitation. Kids want to be kids and sometimes they want to go and play sport and they need a blade for that. But it takes time to learn to use them properly and that’s where Blade Camp comes in!"

"Hopefully there'll be kids at home that can use a lot of the takeaways we discuss in the series, because many of the youngsters we saw were having similar issues. A lot of them had to learn to use their hips properly. We were just trying to activate things and get them back into the position where they would be if they had two limbs."