F1 hero Tom inspires pupils at his old school in Denbigh

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The remarkable story of Formula 1 hero Tom Pryce is inspiring the pupils at his old school in Denbigh to reach for their dreams.

The youngsters in the two Year Six classes at Ysgol Frongoch were given a special treat when they were given a close-up look at a Formula Ford racing car like the one that Tom drove at the start of his illustrious career and a go-kart similar to the one that Lewis Hamilton raced as a boy.

The visit was organised by members of the Tom Pryce Community Appeal to erect an interactive sculpture to honour him in his hometown.

The aim of the £50,000 appeal is to inspire local children and young people to follow their dreams just like Tom did.

In the space of a few short years he went from being a lowly tractor mechanic to a rising star of the Grand Prix circuit who was being tipped as a future world champion.

His life was tragically cut short as the result of a freak accident in the 1977 South African Grand Prix at the age of just 27.

Teacher Adele Gregory said: “What’s happening at the school today is absolutely amazing. It’s very exciting.

“The pupils have already researched Tom Pryce and they’re very enthused about his story and his life, and a lot of the children already have an interest in motorsport anyway.

“The idea is that they reach for their dreams and hopefully this will help.”

Pupil Olivia Jones, 11, said “I know Tom Pryce was a famous race car driver, and used to go to Fron Goch school.

“When he was my age, he dreamed of being a race car driver. He’s very inspiring.”

Classmate Isaac Jones, 11, said: “I think the fact that he went to the same school as me is really inspiring for me, and for future race drivers that live in Denbigh.

“When I leave school, I would like to become a rugby player and I’d also like to become a professional F1 driver or something like that.

“The Tom Pryce story is inspiring me to follow my dream and to try and achieve things.”

The go-kart was brought to Ysgol Frongoch by the team from the Glan y Gors circuit near Cerrigydrudion while the Formula Ford was there courtesy of Richard Peacock, a director of the Tŷ Croes Circuit on Anglesey.

The circuit recently staged a race for the new Tom Pryce Memorial Trophy and fans gave the late racing driver a minute’s applause.

Among those who spoke to the children was the talented Llandudno-based sculptor, Nick Elphick, who will be making the interactive sculpture.

He said: “I think it’s a real inspiration being able to get all of the kids involved with the concept of the Tom Pryce memorial.

“Just seeing them look so excited about the cars and everything is wonderful and it’s just bringing awareness of the project and it brings me a sense of pride. It all helps keep Tom Pryce’s memory alive.

“I was delighted to have the chance to explain to these young people what he achieved, what’s possible in life and the fact that it’s about your ambitions and your dreams,

“My dream was to become an artist and it’s important that they also have goals in their lives because that gives you a direction in life.

Also there was Dave Jones, from St Asaph, a friend of Tom Pryce who is now the proud owner of his old MGB GT sports car.

He said: “These children at Ysgol Frongoch and others like them are what this campaign is all about.

“It’s about trying your hardest and working as hard as you can to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.

“It doesn’t matter whether they want to be a racing driver, a nurse or a gardener. The important thing is that they aim to be the best that they can be.”

It was a message echoed by Mario Kreft MBE, from Denbigh, who is one of the main drivers of the Tom Pryce Community Appeal.

Mario said: “The whole of our team is inspired to make sure the Tom Pryce story didn’t end in 1977.

“It’s actually going to live on by being a story that people will talk about and read about and it will inspire young people in Denbigh and far beyond to dream their dream.

“I think it is a great opportunity for the community of Denbigh to use story of their famous son to put the area on the map as a place that inspires and nurtures talented young people.”