A TEENAGER has been mingling with stars of the track, ring and parliament after becoming the county’s first sports ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.
Jamie Woodruff said it was “unbelieveable” to spend hours talking to the likes of former heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis and former Grand Prix champion Damon Hill, at a Prime Minister’s recpetion earlier this week.
He was invited as one of 80 youngsters who have volunteered to help disadvantaged 13 to 30-year-olds improve their lives through sport.
The 18-year-old, from Rishton, said: “I was really nervous when I got to Downing Street and thought we were in for a lecture, but David Cameron came in all bubbly and bouncy and he was really interested in what we had to say.
“I spent about an hour talking to Lennox Lewis about how he got into sport and what inspired him. He told me he liked being independent, and that if something went wrong it was purely down to him in the ring.
“Damon Hill said that he didn’t want a nine-to-five job and wanted to make something of his life.
“It was so inspiring to meet these people and to see what you can achieve.”
Jamie, of Burton Street, was encouraged to attend a 12-week course at Blackburn’s branch of the Prince’s Trust by a support worker for dyslexia when he finished a dead-end job at 16.
After being mugged, he wasn’t confident going out and had no motivation to continue in education.
But having enjoyed his time team building, residential trips and community tasks such as tidying up the cathedral grounds, he was invited back to be a volunteer sports ambassador.
He said: “I love sport and ice hockey is my thing. I want to be able to inspire young people to achieve goals if their ‘thing’ is also sport.
“Sports involve courage, determination, respect, friendship and equality, and these are things that can be built upon to change lives and find employment.”
Jamie will also be attending a reception with Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on February 20, to mark the organisation’s 15 years of working with football clubs, including Blackburn Rovers who are displaying the charity logo on their shirts.