FENLAND: Oliver tells of his battle against the bullies after Youth Achievement Award success

Story by: TOM JACKSON HE S defied the odds throughout his 15 years – and now Oliver Hutton has proved the bullies wrong by winning Fenland s Youth Achievement Award. Each hurdle he s had through childhood he s cleared and amazed everyone, said a tearful


HE'S defied the odds throughout his 15 years - and now Oliver Hutton has proved the bullies wrong by winning Fenland's Youth Achievement Award.

"Each hurdle he's had through childhood he's cleared and amazed everyone," said a tearful and proud mum Julie after watching her son pick up the prize.

Oliver, from Leverington, battles spina bifida, a condition which sees one or more of the 33 bones in the human vertebrae not form properly during pregnancy.

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Doctors predicted he would never walk and, as Mrs Hutton said: "Because your child has spina bifida, you don't expect them to achieve their goals.

"But ever since he was a toddler, Oliver's proved us wrong."

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However, Oliver was bullied throughout the two-and-a-half years he attended Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech, because of the way he walks.

The bullying became so bad that he quit school 12 months ago and is now home-taught by his mum.

Mrs Hutton said: "Oliver used to be the one excluded from lessons. He was the one put in the corridor while the bullies stayed in the classroom. He was being punished for their behaviour and it was making him unwell.

"We tried to sort the problem out but it felt we were banging our heads against a brick wall. Schools don't have bullying problems.

"Most of his friends from Peckover Primary School were going to Thomas Clarkson and he wanted to go there too. I didn't want to stand in his way."

Oliver added: "It started with four or five bullying me but it eventually grew to about 20. It did stop for a couple of weeks once, but they started again.

"But I have got some really good friends who have stuck by me through it all, and I've made more friends from other schools."

Oliver, with the support of dad Nigel and older brother Daniel, is taught at home by Mrs Hutton. She has no teaching experience - she's a self-employed dog groomer.

"I research information on the internet," she said. "I even got told by the education authority that I was over-working him and had to cut down his hours.

"We stuck originally to a proper school timetable, but an education officer who visited said I was working him too hard."

Oliver was the overall winner of the Youth Achievement Awards, run by Fenland District Council and Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard. He also won one of two new awards, for personal achievement.

He is gearing up to study GCSEs at home, but has a long-term ambition to either play music in a rock band or become a touring car racer.

Oliver said: "I always tried to ignore the bullies, but I just gave in. I was fed up with it all. Mum suggested home schooling and I've learned more in the last 12 months than I did in two years.

"Anything is possible in life with the support of your family and good self-confidence. Just don't let the bullies beat you.

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