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Alumni of the month - November 2012

Anna Smith
BSc Social Policy and Sociology 1999

Miriam Kennet

In July 2012, Anna Smith was an Olympic Torchbearer and carried the flame through her local Borough of Kingston upon Thames, a deserved reward for her passion for sport and incredible determination following a horrific incident.

In her current role as an NHS Sports Therapist, Anna encourages people with mental health issues to get involved in physical activity. Earlier this year, she came home to find her neighbour being mugged by two men outside the front door of their apartment.

Without pausing for thought, she confronted the men and offered her money to prevent any serious violence. Three days later, she woke up in intensive care on a ventilator and a drip with a broken nose, jaw, eye socket and two broken cheekbones.

“I don’t actually have a memory of the attack, so that’s probably a good thing. To be honest, I was lucky to be alive.”

As the injuries healed, Anna got back to playing sport in an amateur women’s football league. Her sheer bravery and willpower to continue with her life prompted her father to nominate her as an Olympic Torchbearer. “It was quite simply just an amazing and fun thing to do. I felt so lucky and everyone got involved. The streets really were lined! If anything, my experience has made me even more determined to support people in need.”

During her time at LSBU, Anna was heavily involved in sports and recalls playing on the basketball and netball teams, as well as enjoying the social activities at the Students’ Union on Wednesday evenings. Her confidence as a student grew thanks to the enthusiastic and encouraging Sociology Lecturers and the engaging environment of the university.

“LSBU is a very supportive university and focuses on the complete student. It’s in a great location - so central to London and the Sociology course had such a good reputation. It was an obvious choice for me to study there.”

Reflecting on the time in hospital, she feels motivated to carry on her therapeutic work to support her local community. She has now successfully gained NHS sponsorship for a part time Occupational Therapy degree to build on her expertise and extend her skills for the benefit of others: “I would really encourage students to just follow the career of your dreams. It’s amazing how many different jobs there are that can combine a number of your interests.”