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Dear JJ

I am writing from Dunn Street Primary School to tell you about the work we have done on Invictus, Flesh And Blood and your newspaper article. We have learned that you were in the Royal Marines and dance on SCD (Strictly Come Dancing).

We also learned that you were blown up by an IED, which broke your neck, shattered your arm and injured both legs. That must have hurt a lot. I’m glad that you were able to recover and rehabilitate even after disaster!

We sewed poppies for Remembrance Day. We learned that you stood strong in the Invictus Games, and won the gold medal due to crossing the line hand in hand with two others.

My favourite part of the Invictus poem was:

‘And yet the menace of the years, Finds and shall find me unafraid.’

To me it represents hope and resilience, considering the fact that Invictus is Latin for unconquerable.

I hope that you still strive to overcome and that you can achieve your dreams! Also, I think that the Jive dance was amazing!

From Ellie


Dear J.J.

I am writing to say I hope you have been well.  You have been strong when you were weak.  I loved when you danced on Strictly Come Dancing. I loved Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. I wish I could dance like you.  It was impressive.  I couldn’t do anything you did.  If I ever did that I wouldn’t last a second.  I would be very scared to dance in front of people. You were very confident.  You are very good at dancing.  Keep doing it and you will be a famous dancer.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud  

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody but unbowed.

We made poppies to remember the people who fought for us and we thank them and we also thank you. You are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.  You are you and are very lucky to have survived the bomb. I hope you are alright.

From Jayden


Dear JJ,

I am writing from Dunn Street Primary School to say we have been learning about the Invictus Games and the newspaper article about your arm. We have been watching your dances with Amy on YouTube and I think you are fab!

Even though you were hit by an IED you have never give up. We have been learning a song called “Flesh and Blood” and we have had lots of fun learning it. We have also been reading the poem called “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley who had tuberculosis. We have also learnt about Nelson Mandela and how he spent 27 years in prison and read the poem every day. On top of all that we read the newspaper article about your arm being sewn into your stomach and it really touched me. We learnt that your “green lid” showed that you were in the Royal Marines. We also now know that you have to get special permission to wear your uniform when you have left the army.

Dancing on Strictly, you never thought you would do that and you did.

My favourite verse from Invictus is…

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

JJ, I just want to say you have been very resilient and you and Amy are fab together!

Good Luck…



Dear JJ,

I am writing to you to give you support for Strictly Come Dancing and about the war in Afghanistan. Continue your journey and never stop believing! You are the embodiment of the inaugural Invictus Games: you shine a spotlight and take challenges to a whole new level! You have strength, willpower, commitment and courage: the list goes on! A lot of inspiration comes from you because you are like a star to them: never stop shining my friend!

We all have had rough downfalls and hard times: I’m about 100% sure of it. No one’s life can be a wonderland, as simple as drinking water from a bottle: putting a pen into a pot. Everyone has had times when they wanted to give up and not continue on. One of the times I have had to stay strong was when I wanted to not live. I’m so glad I’m still alive today because life has a lot of surprises: good and bad! Things will get better eventually: just like your injuries! I’m glad your surgery went well, I know it did because we have been learning all about you and how they took many weeks to heal!

We have learnt quite a lot about you and how you fought in the war: I’m extremely proud of you! Your hand injury was quite severe and crushed but you fought through and didn’t give up! Your head was crushed like a slushy and your hand was smashed like a felled tree but you never gave up and decided to get surgery! The world needs a lot more people like you. You learnt to do everything again which is EXTREMELY difficult. Do you have any regrets joining the war?

We have also learnt about the Invictus Games for the wounded, injured and sick personnel: the brainchild of Prince Harry. You are the embodiment, the spotlight within these games.

The war in Afghanistan you fought in makes lots of people inspired by you: to challenge themselves and try new things. The blast was colossal and really left some injuries within you. I’m sorry for your loss about your 2 friends but they are always there for you, in your heart. You have inspired me to conquer new heights, try new things and challenge myself to do things I would never have thought I’d do. You also have inspired other people’s lives and made them do new things and for that, I’m really proud and hope you never stop your journey!

From Lauren


Dear JJ

I saw you on Strictly Come Dancing I thought you were excellent. We as a class have been learning about the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.  We also researched the article about you being hit by an IED and having to have your arm sewn into your abdomen.

We also learned about the Invictus Games – congratulations on coming 3rd in the games! How did it feel coming in 3rd place? You are just marvellous!

We made poppies for Remembrance day without plastic by using felt that we sewed together.

I hope you win Strictly Come Dancing!

From Mark



I am Andrew and am writing to you from Dunn Street Primary School.

Me and my class have been working about invictus.  We have been learning the song Flesh and Blood and the poem by William Ernest Henly. We have been watching your Strictly Come Dancing.  I think you’re actually good.

I felt really bad for you when I saw what happened to you when the IED dropped on you. I wish it does not happen to me.

When I grow up, I want to be in the army like you were.  I’m only ten so I won’t be able to do it now.

My favourite bit of the poem is





From Andrew


Dear JJ

I am here to say we been learning about the Invictus Games.  It has taught us a lot about how people cope with problems.

We learnt that you were hit with an IED on the head. We learnt that you had to learn how to do stuff again because your brain lost parts of it memory.  In 2014 you went in to the Invictus Games – the very first one and you won a bronze medal and a gold which is good and you didn’t give up which is good.

We learnt about the poem Invictus and how Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years and the author had tuberculosis which was a problem and his leg was amputated so it didn’t affect the rest of his body.

My favourite part of the poem is

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

You do your very best on Strictly so give it a hundred % – show it to all the crowd and everyone what you can do. There are challenges you can face – give up is not a word.  To do it keep on trying as we want to hear you did well.

JJ give it all that you have got!

Good luck …




We have researched about you and Invictus Games. We love how you tried jive and it’s good that you wanted to be treated the exact same because it doesn’t matter if people are different they should all be treated the same.

I have seen what an IED is.  What did the impact feel like before you were knocked out? Also what did it feel like when you were in the Royal Marines in Afghanistan.

Once when I was 7 years old I wanted to be in the army but I didn’t know what part of the army I wanted to be in so could you give me some advice for it.

Did you win a gold medal because in the Invictus Games race it was a draw? And when I saw it, it was such a great moment and you are right – when people are having a bad day you need to snap out of it because you are alive and other people have lost those in their family.

From Kevell


Dear ‘JJ’,

I am writing to you to say you are the embodiment of Invictus. Your courage and mettle is outstanding! You have inspired many people to commit to a vast category of incredible feats. Your 3rd place medal in the inaugural “Invictus Games” was a colossal victory for you and the seas of adoring fans!

A time when I had to be Invictus:

When the film club I attend had been nominated for “The into Film Awards” I was ecstatic! Until… It was cancelled. The film club were appalled and devastated but we kept on going. And won!

Your green beret is a display of bravery and valour to show you served our country.

We watched your jive on “Strictly Come Dancing” and it was fabulous! We know you tried your hardest with that. It’s so weird that you have only been dancing for 4 weeks and you are so efficient at it!

Your rehabilitation must have been difficult. I think you are a very inspiring and admirable person who started out being injured and now is an Invictus Games medallist, Strictly Come Dancing competitor and a kind-hearted human being.

From Brad


Dear JJ,

I am writing to you to wish you look in the next step in Strictly.  I am shocked because you fought in the war and you can dance. Wow!

I am speechless! I have so many questions. Were you nervous? Were you scared? How did you feel? Were you happy you got to dance with Amy? How did you feel dancing in your army uniform?  I wonder who it felt being hurt with an IED? So many questions.

We have learnt so many things about you like you broke your neck, you hurt your arms and your legs. We have watched you on videos and you are so confident to tell everyone about you.  It’s amazing that you came 3rd and 1st in the Invictus Games.  Something else is you never gave up because you learnt to cook, put your clothes on and learnt to eat again. When you kept trying to learn again you got better and better and you made it.

You have probably heard of the Invictus poem and if you have there is a link I can make with you and a part of the poem. The link is that one of the lines say “finds, and shall find, me unafraid” and you said you are not afraid to show your injuries. When you were on the video you said any days you are sad you are going to pull yourself out of it and that is exactly how you should be.

From Azra


Dear JJ,

I am writing to you to say that in our school, we have been learning about Invictus and how it means unconquerable. Also we’ve been learning about you and how you got really injured by an I.E.D and you are basically Invictus because you were unconquered and you were resilient. Also I think most of the class look up to you but I know I do. Again I also like that even though you were badly effected by an I.E.D you still wanted to be treated as everyone would be.

On Strictly Come Dancing, you still went up and danced and you were amazing and in the Invictus Games you were great.

I’m glad I learned about Invictus (Games) because it’s probably been my favourite subject and I’m also glad because I got to learn about you and you inspire me a lot and hopefully it is not coming to an end.




Dear J.J.

I am writing to you to say that you have been confident and strong after your recovery. I had to be confident when I went to sing on stage. My heart was beating so fast I could have dropped. Next time if I go on stage I’ll think of you and I’ll think of you and be strong.  You’re so lucky that you are alive. Did you enjoy being in the army? Also did you enjoy doing the Invictus Games. I would love to be in the Invictus Games but I’m too young. You are a really good dancer. I wish I could dance like you.

Have you heard of the song Flesh and Blood? If you have what is your favourite line? My favourite line is

I have been strong.

 In the poem Invictus I love the part

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul.

I like that part because nobody can rule your life. If you have read the poem what is your favourite part?

I saw you dance on Strictly Come Dancing. You were so good!!! I’ve been dancing before but I don’t do it anymore because my mam took me out. You must be happy that people are treating you the same as all the other competitors.

From Kacie


Dear JJ,

I am writing to say that we have been learning about Invictus and we think you are amazing.

While we have been learning about Invictus we have looked at the poem Invitus.  We have also   looked at the song Flesh and Blood. We think the poem and song are incredibly good. We have also tried to learn the poem and we have got the song but we need to learn the end of the song. My favourite part in the poem is:

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the pit from pole to pole

because my class have looked at it and it is like someone is suffocating him.

We are sending you a message to say you are a fabulous person and we watched you on Strictly Come Dancing with Amy and you are amazing!  I could not dance like that.  It must have taken you a long time to learn the dance.

We just want to say we have lots of support for you and the whole year 5/6 have support for you as well.  You might have been injured but you are still dancing amazingly!  I say again I  can’t dance like that – not one bit.

From Carly


Dear JJ,

I am writing to you to say me and my class have been learning about the poem Invictus and we learnt about you too. We have looked at the newspaper article about your arm and some of your dances on Strictly.

I just want to say you and Amy are amazing at dancing considering you can’t do all the things that other dancers do, due to what happened in the past.  It is phenomenal. One of my favourite dances you did was the one where you had your Royal Marine uniform with your “green lid” on.

We also learnt about the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley who had tuberculosis! I remember the first lines are:

 “Out of the night that covers me,

Black as pit from pole to pole”.

On Remembrance Day me and my class sewed poppies and drew some too to thank everyone that risked their lives for us.

I want to wish you a good luck for when you’re next on Strictly.

From Ava


Dear JJ

I am writing to you because you have inspired me and my class. You are the definition of INVICTUS. I know a lot of things about you including your injuries. I think your injuries are amazing because they make you YOU. I love watching you on Strictly Come Dancing.



  1. Excellent understanding what can be achieved whatever the circumstances…well done everyone!

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