A schoolgirl driven to the brink of suicide has beaten her cruel bullies — after taking up taekwondo.
Catherine McIntyre, 13, told her parents she did not want to go on living because she was being bullied and struggling to cope with the death of her beloved grandfather.
But she now “walks with her head held high” after beating her demons with the help of the martial arts classes.
The courageous teen has shown such a talent for taekwondo that she has just won two gold medals in a club competition.
Yesterday her mum Joanne, 42, spoke of her pride and urged other parents to sign their children up for the sport.
She said: “Catherine had no self-esteem. When she first went to the classes she walked in with her head down and would not talk to anyone.
“Her confidence was totally shot, and it was about building her confidence.
“I saw her training two weeks ago and I was amazed. She is so confident. She has come out of her shell. I am so pleased for her.
“From being a shy 13-year-old, she is now a gobby almost-14-year-old. I’m glad she has changed. She went back to school in August and has not had any problems since.
“I think there will be thousands of kids going what Catherine went through. If parents are going through it and don’t know where to turn I would advise them to take their kids along to taekwondo.
“If Catherine’s story inspires just one person to go and do something like this then you would not have any bullies.
“She was a shy girl and now she has totally changed her life.”
Catherine, from Lanark, Scotland, lives with her parents Joanne and Paul, 45, and her younger sister, Hannah, nine.
She was left devastated after her maternal granddad Joe Crossley died of brain cancer at the age of 73 in May.
The youngster had also been on the receiving end of taunts from bullies and within days she was reduced to a “petrified and shaking wreck” after being threatened.
Joanne, a sales assistant, rushed to the school to take her home, and kept her away from classes for the last fortnight of the summer term.
She said: “The bullying was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She got thrown against the wall and one of the girls said she was going to slam her head off the ground.
“Catherine phoned my husband, and he said ‘you had better get to the school and get her, she is going to do something stupid’.
“She told him that if we didn’t come and get her then she would not be here. If I had not got there before lunchtime I don’t know whether she would have done something.
“When I went to get her she was white and shaking.”
Catherine’s confidence was so low that the family feared she would harm herself – but that changed when she began kickboxing in June and then took up taekwondo in August.
Over the summer holidays her self-esteem improved so much that she returned to school as normal at the start of the autumn term and has not been bullied since.
And earlier this month she won two gold medals at an inter-club sparring competition in Blackburn, West Lothian.
Joanne added: “I think if Catherine had not gone to kickboxing I’m not sure where she would be now. You see stories of girls taking their own lives.”
A spokeswoman for South Lanarkshire Council, which runs Lanark Grammar, said: “All of our schools seek to provide a safe and supportive context for all our pupils.
“All incidents of alleged bullying are treated very seriously and investigated fully.”