Social media co-ordinator James Tennant inspired others on Wednesday night when he appeared on TV and told the story of how he overcame his severe stammer.
The 25-year-old featured on ITV’s new show This Time Next Year, presented by Davina McCall, in which determined people pledge to transform their lives in 12 months.
He had suffered from the speech impediment since the age of four and found everyday tasks a constant struggle.
James said: “When my stammer was at its worst I couldn’t do many of the things people take for granted.
“This could be anything from ordering a drink at a bar to calling up for a taxi or even just talking to a friend.”
But through hard work and determination, James overcame his stammer to deliver an inspirational speech to 350 students at his old secondary school in Cumbria, after which he received a standing ovation.
“It was an easy choice,” he said. “I could either say: ‘Okay I have a stammer. It is the end of the world’.
“Or I could do something about it and get in control.”
As his speech to pupils at Austin Friars school in Carlisle was broadcast on the show this week, social media lit up with messages of support. Olympic champion Helen Glover and Scottish rugby union star Kelly Brownboth congratulated James on his efforts.
He has since appeared on radio shows and local news shows. Next year he will be a guest speaker at Carlisle Cathedral for World Speech Day.
The Leeds Trinity graduate said: “Since Wednesday my phone has not stopped ringing.
“I was in floods of tears as all the messages of support came through. It is so emotional to have people take the time to contact me and say they found it inspirational. It’s great.”
James was helped to achieve his goal by the McGuire Programme, a speech therapy course which also helped pop star Gareth Gates.
“It isn’t a quick fix for me and I still get stuck on words and sounds.,” he said.
“But getting to this stage has changed my life and I truly believe that if I can do this, I can do anything.”