'Truly inspiring' journalist returns to school to tell her story to students

Aymen Babar (centre) with students at Caterham High

Aymen Babar (centre) with students at Caterham High - Credit: Ben Mole

A sports journalist who helped to pay for her Cambridge University masters degree through a fundraising page returned to her former school to inspire students.

Aymen Babar, from Ilford, went to Caterham High School for the first time since leaving in 2017 after completing her A-levels. 

The 23-year-old is now working for the BBC after graduating from university with a masters degree in journalism.   

She talked to Caterham High students about her education and career pathway before taking questions. 

Aymen told how she raised up to £4,000 after setting up a GoFundMe page to help pay for tuition fees to complete her masters. 

She said: “It was truly an honour to come back to my former school and talk to current students. It was like going back in time. 

“It was lovely to see the wonderful teachers who really helped me to get where I am today. It was great to talk to the students because I was in their position not so long ago."

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Aymen also spoke about her time at the school and the importance of work experience and networking, discussing her placement with Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, now shadow health secretary.

“I was lucky enough to do work experience with Wes Streeting thanks to connections at the school. That really opened up my eyes to what could be achieved. 

“I looked back on that now and it was so useful. The people that I met and also having it on my CV has been really useful.

“I come from a working class background so needed support funding my masters degree.

"I got so much support from Wes and his team and from the community in Redbridge. I will be forever grateful.”

The school's headteacher Belinda Chapple described Aymen's story as "truly inspiring".

She added: “Because Aymen has walked the same halls and classrooms of the young people she talked to, her story and voice was really impactful. 

“It shows them that if you are prepared to work hard, put the effort in but also to believe in yourself nothing is impossible.”