Inspirational Speaker Night

Ella Hewton By

Wow, what a few weeks we have had!


First, there was the total rebrand and new website (I hope you’ve all had a chance to take a look around by now) – we’re very proud of it and our gratitude to Steph and Steve who made this all possible is boundless!


Last weekend, we had a day of filming down at Mudeford, near Christchurch.  We got to say hello to Doris, she is coming along nicely, with solar panels fitted and the inside cabins taking shape! All starting to feel very real. The new film will be ready in the next week or so, so watch this space! Big thanks to Tom and Dave for the film and edit! =D


Of course we have also been squeezing in the usual of training, sponsorship meetings and a little bit of sleep!


On top of all of this was our Inspirational Speaker Night Fundraiser, which we held on Monday evening.  It was a huge success! We couldn’t have asked for more, almost 100 people, 4 incredible speakers and we raised just over £2000! There’s always a lot to do when putting on events like this, but what strikes me is the huge generosity of people, all willing and, in fact, wanting to contribute and help! From Butchers’ Hall the incredible venue, to Life’s Kitchen who provided the interval food, to Dave and the team at AzoPrint – their kindness made the night what it was, and we can’t thank them enough.


Then of course our amazing speakers – Danny Crates, Dave Cornthwaite, Emily Penn and Martin Hewitt who all kindly gave up their time for free to help us put on the night – Danny hadn’t even met us before!!


First up adventurer Dave Cornthwaite revealed his journey.  As a 25-year-old couch potato with all the ‘boxes ticked’ on paper in terms of what a ‘successful Western adult” is supposed to have; a mortgage, a long term girlfriend, a well-paid job and a cat, he realised things were wrong when on his 25th birthday it struck him that the only thing he really loved within those was his cat! So he made a choice. A choice to change things, and, as he so poignantly put it:

“I decided to live according to how I felt, not what was expected of me” “We’re all exactly the same in terms of potential, it just comes down to attitude and choice”


He went on to explain what followed.  His first adventure, a 3000 mile skateboard across America through to his current series of challenges as part of Expedition 1000, 25 journeys of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport.  He also gave us some good advice about putting on the bullsh*t filters. “Whenever you plan a big adventure people will come up with a lot of negative fears, from overturned boats to shark attacks. You certainly have to take your business seriously but you also have to know when to ignore your critics.”


Next up, Martin Hewitt, injured ex-Forces Everest Expedition Leader, had some fantastic advice about understanding your team so you can manage critical pressure situations. “If you don’t really understand each other’s motivations, someone will quit. Understanding why you are all there makes the tough calls work when the time comes”.  Keith our sports psych would agree I’m sure!

Emily Penn, expedition leader and oceans activist thrilled us with tails of life at sea but horrified us with pictures of the enormous plastic gyres she’s studied in the Pacific and Atlantic. She warned us to expect “the sound of pieces of plastic hitting your hull. It’s scary at first but sadly you’ll get used to it”.  She also gave us some useful advice around logistics in the Pacific.


Finally Danny Crates, Paralympic 800m world record holder left us with “Life does not throw challenges, or oceans, at you that you cannot handle”. He went on to explain how we could apply this by staying focused on the small, daily changes. “These subtle changes are really hard to implement but they are the things that make a big difference over time”.


Danny also helped us walk people through a skeleton of our boat Doris which we had taped up on the floor.  This really helped us to explain what it will be like for us when we are out on the ocean.


So we’ll leave you with a massive thank you to our speakers and everyone else who came to and helped out with the speaker night and our own message of inspiration from the night.  “We’ve taken a chance and made the choice to row the Pacific.  We are all committed to the hard work and sacrifices it is going to take to get us to the start line and then across the ocean. We’re creating our own story board and we’d like to ask you what’s yours?”


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