April 2019 Newsletter
The whirlwind continues!
In answer to my previous question, will it go back to normal when I get home?
The answer is NO!!
It’s been an absolute whirlwind with more media appointments, school visits, talks and project development ideas.
The day after getting home I was filming with ITV on the river front at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club. This was my first glimpse of the river I had spent so many hours training on since leaving over two months ago. It looked pretty calm out there to me now after what I had just experienced. I took a good long deep breath and internally thanked the river for being a massive part of my life.
The day after that I was in the studio at Sky, I feel like a bit of a pro at this TV lark now- reckon I could do some presenting of my own one day ha ha.
The next day on air with Martin, Su and Alex from Heart SX. That gang has been amazing. Whilst I have been away they have followed me and kept the listeners up to date with my journey. On this day I got so much airtime and really boosted my fundraising profile (I am up to about 12K for the Marine Conservation Society now!) Thank you the morning crew!
On to Friday and International Women’s Day, I had been invited to talk at an event in Chelmsford. The event is set up by representatives of the police, fire and ambulance and is aimed at inspiring women in the emergency services. It was a fantastic day meeting lots of people who had inspiring stories of their own.
I was sitting at one of the tables listening to the guest speakers whilst merrily filling my face with the complimentary chocolates, when i suddenly realised my picture was up on the screen. The Chief Constable of Essex went on to talk about me and my achievements. I was sure that I was going to be called up on stage, so I had to chew and swallow everything I had in my gob as quickly as possible!
Sure enough, I was called on stage, and to my surprise I was awarded a Chief Constable’s Commendation for Outstanding Achievement. I was very proud to have been awarded this, and to have not had chocolate on my teeth in the photos!
Before I knew it, and without a moments rest, i was back at work. First task of my first day back… attend a meeting. But is was not all bad as the boss had brought in cakes!!
Since being back in the UK I have attended many local schools telling them about not only my row, but spreading the message about plasic pollution and inspiring young people.
The children never fail to amaze me with their enthusiasm for the subject, they all know not to drop rubbish and the effect our plastic pollution is having on the oceans and the world we live in.
I have had a number of messages from parents and teachers telling me how my story has inspired change and made a real difference. It’s messages like this that make the whole thing worth while.
I love the questions primary school children ask, most are better than the ones adults ask. However, the one my friend got at a different talk will take a lot of beating. He was the police school liaison officer and was doing a stranger danger type talk. When he asked if there were any questions a sweet little girl asked “Why does my dog smell my cats bottom?” I am not sure what answer he gave but i should imagine the leaving assembly music went on pretty quickly.
As well as school visits i have also been talking at locals groups and clubs spreading the word. It really is non stop as it’s not just the time taken to travel to the venue and deliver the talk, it’s preparing presentations and dealing with all the admin enquiries. I love it, but I do need to make sure I don’t over do things. I have a full time job on top of the Row Aurora campaign, so time management is key.
I was absolutely overwhelmed (I probably have used this word way too much lately!!) to receive an award from the Burnham Town Council for outstanding achievements. It’s an absolutely beautiful trophy in the shape of a rower. I was so taken aback to have got this, but am so proud to have represented my beautiful town and hopefully made a difference in my community.
My latest project is to get my town awarded plastic free status. Please follow my Facebook page ‘Plastic Free Burnham on Crouch’ to find out more.
Thank you to everyone who came to my welcome home party. I of course got on the microphone and had a sing song of my own. The gifts were just beautiful. Thank you everyone.
What’s next? Who knows what the future holds? I certainly intend to continue my work reducing single use plastics and encouraging others to do the same. I would also like to develop a role as an inspirational speaker.
I want people to see that no matter who you are, where you come from, your abilities or disabilities, there is something within you that you can excel in. It can be hard work striving for your goals, but the tougher the journey the more rewarding it is when you get to your destination.
I am sure there will be an announcement soon as to my next big adventure, but for now I will be spending the next year working on my plastic free project and helping to train future ocean rowers. You never know, I may even have a second book out one day?
I hope you have enjoyed following my journey and maybe you have been inspired to do something amazing of your own.
I will continue to write a monthly blog, so stay tuned to hear what I have been up to next month!