STRONG MAN: Mitchell Eckford bench pressed his mum and Bucasia State School principal Belinda Eckford, to help raise awareness for school chaplains and inspire younger children at the school to follow their dreams.
STRONG MAN: Mitchell Eckford bench pressed his mum and Bucasia State School principal Belinda Eckford, to help raise awareness for school chaplains and inspire younger children at the school to follow their dreams. Tony Martin

Australia's third-strongest man lifts school principal

AUSTRALIA'S third strongest man bench pressed the principal of the Bucasia State School, Belinda Eckford, who also happens to be his mum, to raise awareness of the school chaplaincy.

"It's a great for the kids, it's great for the school, and it's great for chaplaincy." Mrs Eckford said.

"It's really important for young people to see other young people as role models"

Mr Eckford, who is currently the third strongest man in Australia for his weight division, has set a personal goal to reach the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Mr Eckford suffered a serious motorbike crash three years ago and weight lifting became part of his rehabilitation.

"I just hope I don't drop mum today. It might be a bit embarrassing for all of us," Mr Eckford said.

Bucasia State School chaplain Nick Ayre believed having Mr Eckford visit the school was a great way to help raise community awareness of chaplains and also to help inspire the children to follow their goals.

There are approximately 10 chaplains in Mackay who attend as many schools as possible.

"Chaplains like to inspire children to have a future and set goals and we invited Mitchell here as we feel he can pass on a positive message to the students." Mr Ayre said.

"It will take discipline and dedication to reach that goal but it can be done."

The school also had a tug-of-war event between the chaplains, teachers and students. The students were also invited to have a question and answer time with the school chaplains and Mitchell Eckford.


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