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Dawn Wood's

solo atlantic challenge 2019

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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! 

  1. Monica Loftin on April 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you Dawn for the important work you do. Beautiful sculptures memorizing your outstanding achievement🌹

    • Ian Wright on April 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      Just wish I could put the clock back 25years then I would have driven down for a visit and had a trip out so I heard about your trip first hand. Never mind by now you should have my YC invite and hope you can fit us in your busy schedule. Congrats on your awards.
      Regards Ian

    • Teresa Glover on April 9, 2019 at 8:36 am

      Truly amazing and inspirational 😊have loved reading your blogs and look forward to hearing about your next venture 😘

  2. Mr spoons on April 8, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Dawny
    As always you keep continuing to be amazing
    It’s been a absolute honour to be your friend and keep up all the hard work and effort with your campaign
    We love you

    • Wendy Fortey on April 9, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Hello Dawn welcome back to reality ‘ I have followed you all the way – not physically of course !! I knew you would be required by the media and other sources you adapted so well and got your message across with your lovely smile – at times you must have been so exhausted but never let it show – every award you deserve- welcome back to your main job – must have been a bit of a shock ‘ congratulations – looking forward to your blogs and a book ! Have Kikos beside me – but remember to have some precious down time , you must be due for a holiday 🤣😎 !!!

  3. Teresa Sanders on April 8, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Next adventure??? Doesn’t sound as though you’ve got time 🤣 ..but I’m sure you’ll find it..good luck in all you are doing xx

  4. Andrew Horlock on April 8, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Continue inspiring us mere mortals and I look forward to following your journey across the Pacific.

  5. Stephen Herring on April 8, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Dawn
    You have achieved things that us mere mortals only dream about !
    I’m sure your campaign will have an important impact on how people think and act to make a difference concerning plastic pollution in the sea.
    Proud of you at the RBYC

  6. Vic Fernandes on April 8, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Dawn, it was an absolute pleasure and blast having you on Capital Media HD 99.3 here in Barbados.
    You are an amazing human being and I am honoured to have met you, you are an inspiration to many, keep doing amazing things.
    Vic Fernandes
    capital Media HD 99.3

  7. Lynn bareham on April 8, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I have loved following your blog. The highs and lows. Just waiting for the book and film🤩. A true inspiration to us all especially the young generation showing what you can achieve x

  8. Heidi Gibson on April 8, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Amazing achievements keep up all the hard work inspiring everyone and raising so much awareness about plastic waste but also getting people to think about it and make changes and come together to help keep their areas tidy.

  9. Eileen on April 8, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Dawn 👋 you deserve all the acclamation you are getting and more , you are someone to look up too ,unless the person is taller than you 😀and it lovely you are educating our next generation about plastic pollution, so keep up the good work, such an inspiration

  10. Brenda on April 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    You’ll never cease to amaze your family and friends with all that you are doing. Well done Dawn. You are truly an inspiration to us all. Keep up the good work 🚣‍♀️🚣‍♀️🚣‍♀️💕

  11. Kim on April 8, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Awesome that you are still carrry on the message. Well done you. P.S mum will be pleased that you continue to write, she can talk about you on her dial a ride bus. Hope that your ears don’t burn too much on a Tuesday morning. X

  12. Mel Williams on April 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    I’m sure you must have a solar panel fixed on you somewhere to give you all this energy (that or Duracell batteries!). Well done for everything you have achieved so far. Can’t wait to hear your talk at All Saints’ primary school in June – looking forward to the questions from the children!!

  13. Lee Rennell on April 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Great work Dawny your a true inspiration to all young and old !!!

  14. Debbie kimber on April 8, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Hello, I love your posts , is it possible to give us practical advice on how to become plastic free ?

  15. Allan Blackburn on April 8, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Hello Dawn. Did you mention in your blog about a second!! book? Well when is the first one due to be published then??? Will be patiently waiting for it. You do seem to be able to communicate well with people a gift on it’s own. Take care

  16. Mike Rees on April 8, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I have memories of a quiet, methodical and focussed young student – nothing has changed really, with the possible exception of ‘quiet’! Your boundless energies have taken you a long way in life and your Plastic Challenge is an inspiration to us all.
    Can’t wait to follow the progress of the Inspirational Speaker within – remember that’s how we renewed our acquaintance.
    Keep up the amazing work you do both on sea and land and remember to keep us on our toes in reducing our use of plastics.

  17. Ian Bolton on April 8, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Congratulations Dawn, it’s people like you that lead the way to change. Keep up the good work.

  18. Robert Holloway on April 9, 2019 at 4:37 am

    Hello Dawn,, What’s with the teaser in your post / quote: “I am sure there will be an announcement soon as to my next big adventure, ? 🙂
    I think you need to stop and smell the roses or at least pace yourself between your project and your marine police work.
    Our local areas have now enforced fines on business on single plastic use and assigned a charge to a paper bag or reusable bag if purchased, Replacement straws of bamboo or sturdy paper are now being made available , some are reusable. Some cruise lines are doing the same. Barbados has implemented non use of Styrofoam but some of the replacement products are causing problems for food product vendors. Here we encourage people to recycle at depots the soft plastics used for cans and food while as with your area we offer by weekly recycle for hard plastics , paper , cans. A major problem is the selling of these sorted groups to companies that consume and create new usage.
    Yes, you are an amazing woman 🙂 but I when read you also sing at the drop of a hat and love chocolate. sure you made more followers
    Keep the great work
    Cheers
    Rob Holloway / Vancouver Island Canada

  19. Bob tebby on April 9, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Thank you dawn it has been a great thrill firstly to have met you and to have waved you off from grand canaries,all seems so long ago the 5th Jan .all the very best.Jackie and bob tebby

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