MICHELLE LITTLE > 61 > SPORTS TEACHER LONDON

This really is a swan song.

 

At 61, Michelle Little is bright, vivacious. And beautiful.

 

"I find it hard to accept people think I'm beautiful now.

I was always the ugly ducking."

 

Apparently Michelle was so ugly when she was born her mum wasn't inspired to give her a name. But the kids at school never ran out of monikers for her.

 

What did Michelle do? She ran. The sports mad young girl was too poor for ballet lessons, and too working class for the tennis club, so she popped on her plimsolls and off she went with her vest tucked into her knickers.

 

Even after leaving school at 15 to become a dental nurse she ran. She ran before work. After work. On weekends. And into the national trials. She missed out by just a fraction of a second. An infinitesimal moment that could have easily been shaved if she'd just had a little more time to train.

 

Undeterred, she went back to being a dental nurse till she had kids. Once the hard yards of motherhood were over she took a part-time job as a swimming coach. And found her calling.

 

It wasn't long till her reputation for encouragement and her sheer exuberance and joy for her pupil's achievements (no matter how minor) landed her a job as PE teacher at one of England's most prestigious private schools.

 

"I didn't think I stood a chance, a working-class white girl from Brixton teaching posh kids? But I got the job and I'm still here 16 years later."

 

The reason she's still there? Because to her, sport has never been about anything but having fun. Being a sports teacher is her dream come true. Seeing a child do something they never thought they could is a million times more rewarding than winning any race.

Michelle's happy, healthy and fulfilled. It just shines out of her. And that's what makes her beautiful.

 

It always has.

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