Lisa was heroine of nursery machete attack
By Sandie Shirley
2009: Thirteen years ago a horrifying ordeal with a machete-wielding attacker changed the course of Lisa Potts' life.
The former nursery school teacher sustained terrible injuries while shielding her pupils during a teddy bear's picnic activity. It thrust her into the media spotlight overnight making her a national heroine who won 19 awards, including the George Medal for bravery.
It took three operations and endless physiotherapy to regain the use of her hands, relearning everything from doing up shoelaces to fastening buttons, she told a packed Wymondham audience earlier this year at an event hosted by the town's Hope Community Church.
"God prepared me for the attack on that summer's day in Wolverhampton. I had a growing faith and was at the peak of fitness," said Lisa. "He took me off the path I was on and placed me on another."
Lisa has made the on-going pages of her life a turning point for herself and others. She has continued to raise the bar when helping youngsters - a vocation that began when she was a 14-year-old Sunday school teacher.
Having done a family counselling course, she set-up a children's charity in 2001 to bring hope, purpose and potential to youngsters aged seven to eleven.
To date, Believe to Achieve (B2A) has helped 1,500 children and their families in Wolverhampton and Lisa was honoured by its university last year for her work.
"It has been important to return to the Blakenhall and All Saints area where the attack took place to bring a new positive impact. The charity is not about me, although I am a trustee and involved with fund-raising and counselling, but about children believing in themselves," she says.
B2A works with pupils at five primary schools to help reinforce self-esteem and family values through parenting courses, mentoring and creativity with art, dance, drama and music. One-to-one counselling for bullying, peer pressure, truancy or relationship difficulties is removing the barriers to learning while training for peer supporters is empowering youngsters to become role models.
Head teachers say B2A is uniting the community, improving attendance and SATs results while creating a happy learning environment with motivated, enthusiastic pupils.