I hope you liked my last blog post. I’m making the effort to keep them a lot shorter and digestible than last year. So, I culminate upon a hectically busy fortnight of meeting famous people. Over the past year I haven’t done too badly on that front- simply by using initiative to be in the right place at the right time. I met Dizzee Rascal at the Coca-Cola photoshoot in London, Beth Tweddle MBE, the Brownlee brothers, Marco Pierre White, John Barnes. I could even get away with saying I was a celebrity myself, being asked for my autograph several times last Summer- to my own amazement. So, as a result of my torchbearing, I got an invite to the Cheshire West Sports Awards on Friday the 1st of March. It was a really smart event, and I had the pleasure of meeting Dame Sarah Storey MBE. She was lovely and an honour to meet- she signed a photo for my auction too. She later gave a speech and like with the rest of the athletes at London 2012, I was truly inspired. A story of a journey from adversity to accomplishment, like my own life but mine’s on a much lesser scale. I’ll come onto that later. A highlights montage was played. It never gets old- and has the joy of being one of those goosebump-inducing things that very few people can get complacent with watching over and over again. A Summer of memories- I almost wish we had the same thing to look forward to this year without my bank balance decimated by a climb of Western Europe’s highest peak and the frustratingly subsequent disability to get tickets to any events. Anyway.
On Monday I went down to London to recieve my Diana Award at Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf. We probably could have flown there in the hammering of gale-forced Arctic winds. Still need to invent a portable paraglider that fits in my pocket… The ceremony was a healthy balance of pride, humour, emotion and inspiration. I was given my award by TV Presenter, Kate Hardcastle. ‘The Risk’ from the X-Factor 2011 were special guests, and although my close friends will know how I hate the X-Factor almost as much as leaking waterproofs, it was a pleasure to meet them too. To hear the stories of some of the 65 award holders there was amazing- really humbling to be among them. It resembles perfectly what the award is trying to achieve- recognising the power of young people to change the world. And yep, you guessed it, the award was set up in memory of the lovely Princess Diana who was well-known for her work with young people.
Forgive me if it sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet by saying how amazing the award holders are despite being one myself. I wasn’t referring to myself but I have no shame in admitting that I take a lot of pride in what I’m doing and what I’ve done. I think it’s important to do so. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to the demeaning skeptics of society- avoid them like the plague, or One Direction. Funnily enough I’ve had plenty of skeptics in my time. They are a necessary step to success. Even now, I’m being told not to climb Everest, or getting those sort-of doubtful sarcastic looks off people when I reveal my plans.
Only YOU know your limits and capabilities. Sure, someone telling you not to go and give a Tree Python a kiss on the lips is probably someone to listen to; common sense does have to come in somewhere. I’m a massive believer in minimising risks. One could argue that there wasn’t much common sense sending man to the moon or man attempting to climb Everest where climbers enter the charmingly titled ‘Death zone’ above 26,000ft in one of the notoriously harshest climates known to humankind. You won’t get much out of life by only doing what’s safe. You get people with no knowledge of the subject, circumstances or you but will still criticise or belittle your plans andcapabilities, normally because they don’t have the security of their own drive or inner belief. The other kind are people who do know what they’re on about, but lack the understanding of your motivations and prefer a more logical and sensible approach, which is fair enough.
For example, there’s a lot of controversy about Jordan Romero climbing Everest aged 13. Too young to climb Everest? I’m of no authority to say. In general, my message is simple. Believe in yourself and don’t let anybody bring you down to a lower level. Listen and be inspired by the people who follow their own path and have achieved what you are trying to achieve.
So, what else have I been up to this week? I’ve been firing out emails all week, working on my proposal, networking, getting items for my fundraising auction and generally getting stressed about my lack of organisation. Today I had a 4.30am start for a car boot sale, raising nearly £90 for Baruntse. Every little helps. I’ve been producing a promotion video ready for my assembly tomorrow. For the next 4 days I will be presenting one assembly a day to four 180-kid year groups in my school. This will be my biggest public speaking gig yet and I’ve never been more scared in my life. But to get a non-uniform day at school (which is awesomely fortunate) I have no choice but to tell the kids about my project.
Of course, I’m passionate about it and inspiring them but public speaking and my stammer do not mix. I just have to get on with it, like I always have. The video will do most of the talking for me and break the ice a little. Oh, and I’ve got some sponsors for Baruntse!! More to come soon on that one. Life is busy and fast-paced but that’s what you’d expect from a project like this. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Funnily enough, the song ‘Whatsername’ by Green Day just came on. That was the song that was playing whilst I looked at a photo of Everest last November and the precise moment I decided that I’d done enough waiting and I needed to begin my sponsorship quest.
I best get going, too. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.