"In every day we have 1,440 minutes. That's 1,440 opportunities to make a positive impact"
MARK BENNETT At 50 he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He underwent a radical prostatectomy and vasectomy with the removal of all the tubes. The recovery left him unable to work for quite some time leaving him dept. When he was able to work again he took on an extra job in the early morning (cleaning in a supermarket) to get his dept paid off faster. He worked hard enough to pay off the overdraft and a 2 week holiday (the first in 20 years). 18 months later it was found that he has secondary cancer. The good news is that it's been found early. The bad news is that it's been found too early. The cancer is too small to be found as yet and he must wait at least 5 years before treatment can begin. He now has this uncertainty hanging over him.He refuses to let this get to him. He is worked harder than ever and trying new things. Including deep sea fishing and modeling to put him " in anew and uncomfortable situations as a means of personal growth and of boosting my confidence" GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: My unwillingness to quit. I don't like to quit at anything. If I say I'll get the job done the job will be done no matter what. If I'm asked to clean something unusual I'll figure it out. If I've got an appointment then I will be there, usually early. HOW HAVE YOU INSPIRED OTHERS? I show people that cancer is no reason to give up. I've been through prostate cancer and now have secondary cancer. I show people that if you keep a positive mental attitude that being a cancer patient is no reason to give up. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED:I remember a quote I once heard - when the devil whispers you're too week to withstand the storm, shout back I AM THE STORM.
RACHAEL WILLIAMS Rachael is a full time mum and Author of the children's books, 'The adventures of superhero Dan' This is a disabled friendly book because the pages are not white so that people with eye conditions and dyslexia can read it with comfort, Dan is a superhero with Autism and the series is based on my own journey with my amazing children who happen to have Autism. GREATEST ATTRIBUTE I genuinely feel undeserving and almost that I haven't done anything out of the norm that could be classed as an attribute, so i ask people who agreed with this nomination and this is what they had to say. Last year my husband was away with work for 1 whole year as he is in the army, Ideveloped a phobia of going to sleep because i was scared if I died no one would find me because my children cannot speak due to their autism. Despite this, I still found the strength to be an amazing mother to my children and still found time to take time out of my busy day to help people and families who where struggling to find help for their own children who have Autism, not ever giving myself enough credit because its in my nature I've help people more than Irealise. Lifting them up and helping them get through some of the hardest days if it wasn't for me and my own experiences they wouldn't be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This made me cry because i don't feel like thats anything out of the norm, i just want to leave this world a little better than i left it knowing that when the day comes when i am not here that my children are living in a world where people are understanding of their disabilites. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I have opened a sensory shop providing items that i used with my own childrens inverention, writing blogs on how i use them so people can gain idea to help their own children. I go to special needs schools creating writing workshops and have inspired young children and adults with autism to become a writer, giving hope to all that feel lost because if we don't have hope what do we have? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I am blessed to have my children and husband, oncce upon a time I operated out of fear and what life if that for anyone? Now I act on love! Everything I do is because I love my family and I love to be able to 'help' knowing i have made a difference to someones day or life even if its a message to say 'i am thinking of you today, it maybe hard but you will get through it'.
WILL KILDARE, owner of the Star Swimming Academy I have taught hundreds of people to swim and given them confidence in the water. There are many achievements to date, but it would be very unfair not to mention being married to Claire, she is my rock, soul mate and supports me in everything I do and then there is my beautiful daughter Heidi, together they motivate and inspire me to do my utmost best! I am also very proud to have a team of fantastic and inspiring individuals that has made the Star Swimming Academy what it is today, the best Learn to Swim School in Merseyside. In a highly competitive area like a learn to swim school you need the best people around you and I can honestly say I have them, most of the team I have been with me since I started the Academy in 2005 and collectively they have created an environment for children and adults to learn to swim in a fun, safe way and progress in life with confidence. Additionally, I’m extremely proud to remain friends with all our swimmers past and present and we have many ex-students who now work within our academy, so we have taught the children to swim, given them a career and now they are teaching the next generation of students WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Being a caring and calm person especially in the pool with children, more so when they have a fear of water! You need to promote and channel these attributes so that the children can become confident and enjoy the water around them first. Furthermore, I am a massive believer in making swimming lessons fun and incorporate a lot of play elements in the swimming session for children and do it in a way that children do not know they are learning. I also like to build a friendship with our adult learners, where we can have a laugh and for the lesson to be fun and relaxed. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I have created a philosophy to bring value to our students, partners and community work. Bring energy and passion to the work we do. Be professional but fun and a little crazy; and whatever you do, do it well! Always promote and provide Child Protection and finally, have the highest integrity in all that we do. I run a business, but it’s not all about the money as what we teach children and adults is not just a leisure activity, it a way of life and one that can save lives or save their own life. When you think about it, we are born in water, we drink water, we wash in water, water is all around us but sadly water can be life threatening! So, knowing that a person can be confident in water, be aware of the risks of the water around them and have the skills to stay safe in water is inspirational in itself, especially for my team of instructors! HOW DO YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Firstly, teaching the children and the adults under my tutelage, helps me keep focused under pressure and then if the pressure gets too much, I know that I can come home and fall into my wife’s arm, get a lovely cuddle of my daughter, that tends to relieve the pressure!
KATE NORMAN Kate is the owner of The Goddess Emporium which is an advocate for ethical beauty. Her salon is the only fully vegan & cruelty free salon in Merseyside. Not only is she passionate about ethical beauty but promotes an eco friendly approach to everything used in the salon. Kate works closely with the red box project helping eradicate period poverty in local schools and regularly raises awareness for mental health in the local community sponsoring sobs (survivors of bereavement through suicide) and raising money for calm mental health charity. Her work is selfless and inspiring and I couldn’t think of anyone else that deserves it more. She has changed my life with her postive vibe approach in everything that she does. She has been described as "An absolute earth angel."
JENNIE MCGOWAN She is a personal trainer, fitness Instructor, spiritualist and single mum of two beautiful girls. Four years ago she was a very different person mentally and physically, stuck in a very toxic marriage, a dead end job, with no confidence.. She was anti social wouldn't speak to anybody without feeling like she was been judged. She was isolated and struggled to make friends. Then something in her changed. She had enough and wanted to change.Firstly she left her marriage of 15 years. She has been with her husband since she was 17 and always been financially dependent on him. The first year was very bad emotionally, she sunk into a deep depression. Then once again she told herself; "enough. I can do this." Jennie always loved dance and was in college studying it until the age of 18 but her life went down a different path. She found a' ZUMBA class she loved. "I started the class standing at the back, would not speak to anybody. For weeks and weeks but eventually I'd been going regularly and the instructor was so friendly and she noticed my talent and had me dancing up in the front of the class with her! My confidence was growing and I was losing weight and get fitter too!!" Jennie was addicted! She started a small job teaching children fitness in varies nursery schools across Liverpool and then started teaching zumba to the very class she used to stand at the back of the class in. My instructor had left and handed over her classes to me. She then helped me gain my personal training qualification which lead me on to teach other concepts such as clubbercise, aquafit , metafit, as well as personal training clients. Jennie tried to launch her business in 2015 but failed, Determined not to give up, she went into employment into the gyms never giving up on her dream Now she is a successful independent instructor and PT. SheLauching classes in the community, expanding my concepts again teaching to varies groups of people such as children, adults with additional needs and over 50s.most recently getting ready to launch jenergy fitness. She says, "I absolutely love my job..I never see it as work. I want to help people from all walks of life, no judgement just love and hopefully give them the confidence to live a happier and healthy life 😊 My greatest attribute is my grit and determination to not give up GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: I came into this Industry to help woman feel strong confident and to believe in themselves as I have. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED?: I always look at how far I have come, the people I am helping. I meditate alot, read self help books, listen to motivational speakers. Stay away from negativity. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED:Always know my WHY to help women become the bestest versions to truly love themsleves from the inside out. "
CLAIRE SIMMO, Radio & TV presenter, event host The last 6 years have certainly been trying. In the space of 6 months I lost my job, marriage, home, had to declare myself bankrupt and come to the realisation that I was to raise 2 children single handedly . At no point did I let this defeat me .. I never took a day off work or discussed it with anyone .. it was only when I posted 12 months after it happened about how I couldn’t believe in the space of a year how things had changed that people even knew anything had happened. Behind the glamorous photographs of events and perfect family life it is a different story sometimes. My mum has pulmonary fibrosis and I had to move in with her and the kids almost 3 years ago for what we thought would Be a short term Until she recovered but we now know this is incurable. Since her infection in October she now needs oxygen 24 hours a day and the only time she leaves the house is via ambulance to go the hospital . Financially it is crippling trying to bring up 2 teenage children with very little help from their father meaning some days I can work 20 hour days sometimes surviving on 3 hours sleep and often sleeping downstairs on the settee when mum has a bad day and is scared to be on her own with trouble breathing. I have my phone on 24 hours a day should she need anything during the evening . However I spent most of my life in hospital with major surgery on my hips up until th age of 8 and my parents fought to have me at home which is why now I will make sure I can do anything to make mums life more enjoyable . It makes me sad to think that mum who used to come to everything with me being by far the most glamorous person in any room Can no longer come out . There’s a terrible amount of guilt involved leaving the house and my Brother Pete is amazing without Him I couldn’t do anything ! Yo Juggle getting up at 4.30 every morning and 3 trips a week from Ainsdale to holly lodge for my Daughter Melodie dancing , plus football with my son Michael and often working in the evening hosting events is not always easy but I like to think that anything is possible and it’s almost a daily Challenge .. but I remain positive as long as I know the people around me are as happy as they can be !, GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: I treat people like I expect to be treated myself! I try and make time for everyone I possibly can and I think to take a moment to call or text or stop and chat to someone can often mean more than you know HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE?I have a good work ethic and always try and see the positive in any situation. I never post about negative issues on social media and always try so hard to focus on the good in everything .. .often accused of living in a Disney world .. but it’s a world I’d rather be in.
TORRON-LEE DEWAR, Founder of the ADU charity and author The ADU Charity specialise in targeting knife crime, ASB, self harming and depression through early intervention services in the arts. Since establishing, we have engaged with 1000's of people from a multitude of backgrounds and ages. ADU is a charity that prides itself of being unique and striving to transform lives is one of our key values. The founder Torron-Lee Dewar BCAa has projected expressive innovation through his artistry both nationally and internationally. Recently written, "Creativity is Everything" is Torron-Lee's new book which focuses on psychological wellbeing based on real life experiences in becoming open minded to deflect the chaos of modern day society whilst converting negativity into meaningful, fearless energy. These passages were developed in the hope of motivating others to take control of their lives regardless of current circumstances. At a time where knife crime is at an all time high in our city, we truly understand the importance of being consistent. Nothing ever happens overnight which is why we push to give 110% at all times. Despite facing various setbacks throughout the years whether it be financially, resourcefully or other, we always turn up rain or shine to open the doors to those who rely on our services... those who depend on artistic, motivational energy to get them through. Ultimately, we strive to build more good role models to outweigh the current bad ones by transforming the anti-social / negative mindsets held by individuals.
JENNIFER FLETCHER, made up artist From my early teams I suffered with depression and anxiety. My best friend was killed in a hit and run which I witnessed at 16 and this took along time for me to move forward from and at 18 i tryed to take my life twice. I found help in the Princess Trust at this time and this helped me to find my focus again and so I then went to college. During this time I fell in to a relationship, I miscarried twice and then lost another baby which ment I couldnt then have children. I then sunk into a further depression and didn't leave the house for almost 3 years. Until I got help from an amazing counsellor, I then found other focuses and wanted to use all my experience to help others that had been through similar. So I decided to train as a counsellor myself After six years counselling in many fields I left this to do other things I love, so i became an MUA which I have a great passion for and now work in bridal. During this time I went into another relationship this was toxic and violent and I went right back to we're I started becoming depressed. At this time I also developed ME, this ment I had to give up work and I felt like I had nothing to live for again I didn't want to give up so I left the relationship and I went back for counselling myself and I built myself up again. 3 years on I I have learnt to manage my ME and I work at my pace, I have goals, I change the way I think to mange my depression. I use meditation to relax my body so I am not in pain, I have just also started tia chi which I love and I have a partner that supports me. I just want this nomination to show that when at rock bottom, you can still have dreams and goals but you may have to get their a different way and adapt for you. I don't want what I have experience to be a negative but somthing that I use as my strength, it's helped others. So to me it was all worth it. I now look forward to so much and carnt believe some of the things I am getting to do. I have built my business up and I am now looking at teaching others to become makeup artists. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? My strength and sheer determination not to give up on my goals. HOW DO YOU INPIRE OTHERS? By doing what I do I hope I show people that I can recover from the worst of events and that their happiness anything they want is achievable with the right help, and that asking for help is OK. how do you stay focused? I use all my holistic therapies and my relaxation to ground me and then I have a clear mind to get the job done. I don't over load myself, and I do what's manageable for me.
CHRISTINE COOPER SMITH, Rehabilitation Co-Therapist (Brain Injuries). I have worked for the NHS for 35 years , I am also mum of 4.. My youngest son was recently voted Young Sportsman of the Year by the Liverpool Echo, he is a champion swimmer along with his sister and is only 15 years old. He needs to train 6 days week and most mornings I have to get up at 4.30am to be at the pool for 5am for training around before school and work. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE?: Time management plus Integrity & honesty . HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS? I Work in partnership with my husband. I encourage individuals to believe in themselves, regardless of age, gender or culture. I encourage individuals to believe they are No.1.... I let individuals know that a mistake is NOT a failure - it's a stepping stone to becoming greater. I always ensure to be there regardless of other commitments, time or weather. When being a marshall at swimming competitions, I always give swimmers a hug and encourage them to relax, do the best they can and just enjoy themselves. Encourage swimmers that their hard training and listening to their coaches, continues to develop the talent that God has given them. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? By believing and knowing that my family support me - regardless. Knowing that what I want to achieve can be achieved - regardless of any hurdles. Knowing that tomorrow is another day. Circumstances and situations will prepare me for greater achievements. Knowing that as a role model, I am here for a reason - not just by chance. Oprah's quote: "doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."
SAMIRAH AL-RUBAI, 31,actress and model who struggled with life when her mum died when she was 19 years old but found inner peace ad happiness through her strength WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? My mother's knowledge.... I was given the opportunity to know myself also to believe in myself but mainly to know my self worth. I feel her teaching me this created a lot of strength in me for myself . I've had this system in me that has kept me together and encouraged me to carry on regardless of any doubts or hurdles. Somehow my mother convinced me that i was enough and it wasn't with just words it was from who she truly was how she shared her life with the upbringing of mine to encourage me to know myself enough to be responsible for my happiness which meant i could sit content with myself knowing who i am and not search or expect it from other's as it's no one's responsibility to make me feel a certain way it's inevitably down to me. My mother allowed me to think freely without judgement but would listen to my questions or even challenge me by asking me to go away and think about why or what something meant to me. To then come back and reflect and liaise with her truly fulfilled me in my character as a person growing up in this world. It was most inspiring because of how she came from a bad upbringing dragged up and abused neglected and beaten... all of what she eventually opened upto to me and shared with me where powerful moments of transference between mother and daughter and my heart learnt her pain but was creating my inner strength which is truly why i believe i am as powerful with transferring my insights or self belief on other's because i can only go there if it's real or true which means something to me so if i see it in another i will get them to see believe and feel it too. I was seriously so lucky to have a mum who kept it real and inspired me as she was a unique example of behaviour HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS This is my underlining mission in life my most greatest feelings are moments when I've been there for a friend in big pinnacle moments in their life where it's at braking point is usually when one comes or turns to me i empower the people that are the least likely to have the strength self belief or confidence in doing something big that needs or can be done by them doing something. If i love you and know you i will do my all to inspire you to be the real you as that is who i believe in and i know can do anything i am lucky to say I've transferred this advice by being able to truly see people and speak the truth.. WHAT KEEPS YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? i channel myself to my inner self my gut my real self and ask what do i really want ...then with some nerves and some adrenaline i say exactly what i feel ...then i always hope for the best as i never expect anything .....or i play a particular song to set my mood or txt the perfect friend in that moment...or i just look up or sometimes eyes closed head down and in my head i go please mum give me a break i need this or i really want this to go well.... i guess i am in my own way asking for her luck guidance magic anything mum empowered is a mindset of thinking in a focused manner.
ASHLEY GREGGANS, 27 owner of Elegance Aesthetics and Pin Ups Hair Salon An entrepreneur who is a fine example of hard work and determination with visualisation. She worked 3 jobs to financer her dream of becoming a qualified aesthetics practitioner; working 9-5 as a dental nurse, then working in her own hair and beauty salon and topping up her wages at the weekend working in a pub. She uses her beauty clinic to host campaigns promoting confidence and last Christmas age away her 2 days of Christmas camping offering 12 worthy women a free beauty pamper. She also launched Blue Monday GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: Passion, I believe if you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life,I have a strong desire to make people feel good about themselves. A confident person is not afraid to be them self, My passion drives me every day to help people achieve this. I left school with low grades, I never let this hold me back, my work ethic has helped me to achieve every goal I have set myself, often juggling 3 jobs and courses at a time to be able to fund my business, HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE? I do not let anybody tell me I can not do something, or I can not have something, where there is a will there is a way. I believe I inspire young people in our community, that you can achieve anything you want without limitations if you work hard enough and are willing to make sacrifices, many people fall at the first hurdle in business, you have to get up every time brush yourself down, learn from the lesson and move on, always focused on the end goal, I hope I would inspire young people to have that leap of faith if and believe if i can do it so can they ! HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? Business is pressure, pressure to succeed, pressure to be the best you can be, pressure to meet the financial demands, when ever I feel under pressure I focus on the rewards, the rewards outweigh the pressures, when times have been really stressful and I feel overwhelmed I trust in the universe, I know it will pass, I take time out for myself, remind myself how far I have come, and be grateful for all my beautiful clients, my beautiful work place, I look back and see just how far I have come, and then I am grateful for the pressure, for without it, I would not have my business
OLIVER JUDE, 15 yr old autistic fashion designer Oliver Jude Clothing was set up in January 2019, aiming to bring positivity to the world! I was diagnosed with autism in August 2016, most children who have been diagnosed would be nervous as this would get their mind ticking over about how their life could change. I was delighted to be diagnosed as I knew all the trouble, I was going through trying to get support and now I knew that I 100% would be able to get all the support that I need. After my diagnosis reached my first secondary school, we quickly realised that I was not receiving the support that I needed to succeed at that school. Unfortunately, my first secondary school excluded me every day for roughly 3-7 months. This was unacceptable as only for one month I received off site education. After fighting for what was right, we gained more and more support from outside agencies who were completely on my side, fighting for what was right after all the discrimination I went through. I then managed transferred with the help from St Helens Council to Rainford High which was the best decision I could ever make at my age. At Rainford I received 25 hours full time support from the amazing support staff in the Special Educational Needs Department. Rainford was more understanding about my Autism and would give me as many strategies and advice as possible to keep me focused in class and to keep my brain in gear rather than getting distracted with the crowds. Throughout all the time I went through exclusions, off site education, exclusion units and multiple negative meetings, I built up a story and created a mood board to set myself a goal to lead up to. My ONE goal was to start a business. This has always been my number one goal in life, I have always wanted to own a successful business helping others. Oliver Jude Clothing then became part of my life. I wanted to promote positivity and share it all around the world. I then struggled to find manufacturers and people who would help me. I was really struggling to get my business off the ground and get the word out there. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? MY smile. A smile means so much to one person. You can smile at a homeless person and give them comfort because then they know that actually that person that has just smiled at them in a non verbal way, cares about them. A Smile is a non verbal way of giving someone comfort which is the main thing when staying positive. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS? My business is to inspire others to promote positivity and stay positive throughout everyday life. I have many friends that congratulate me on a daily basis. Many people that follow me or speak to me say thank you for all the positivity that I push into the world. It is important to keep positive on a daily basis otherwise what else can you do, your mood, mind, brain focus will crash without positivity and organisation. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE?When I am under a lot of pressure I think of one thing, positivity, this keeps my mind at ease and all of the people that I am helping daily to keep a cool head and to stay positive.
ANTHONY PROCTOR, actor and entertainment manager, Farmer Teds I’m an arts marketer, actor and educator based in Liverpool. I witnessed the power of cultural events and how they can revitalise a city during Liverpool’s historic Capital of Culture year in 2008. I was inspired by this event to pursue a career in the arts with the aim of making a positive impact on communities. My varied career has had one common theme - people. I’m very lucky that in all of the areas I work, I have a very fixed focus on people and the ambition and opportunity to make life a little bit better for people. Be that entertaining with a production I have directed, or through my acting talents, be it through marketing a brilliant new show to audiences or through teaching new skills to students with immense potential. I’ve had the pleasure of working for such organisations as the Liverpool Empire, ACC Liverpool Echo Arena, Bill Elms Associates, Sense of Sound Singers, Farmageddon, and now I’m the Marketing and Customer Experience Manager at Unity Theatre where I lead the team who put our audiences first. I support local theatre company Kitchen Sink Live - a theatre movement providing an open accessible platform, empowering people to tell their real stories while challenging current perceptions. This new company runs youth theatre and changes lives of its participants. In addition to my work at Unity, I am a singing teacher at LIPA 4:19, a director on the board of Culture Warrington and am currently working with the LCR Pride Foundation, the organisation who delivers Pride in Liverpool (formerly Liverpool Pride) GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: Empathy. If you truly care about people and can see things from other points of view, you can overcome any obstacle. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE?I treat my students like real people. They are held to very high professional standards and I give them the freedom to follow their own paths. This achieves great results. In my marketing life, I aim to inspire my team through my actions. I champion them and they're a brilliant team. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I share the load. I talk to my mentors and peers. Most importantly I keep an eye on my objective. If you stay focused on what you want to achieve, then the pressure becomes just part of the journey to success.
SAMANTHA FOLEY, wellbeing coach, reiki master, yoga instructor My journey began when i was 18 months i could see a little boy playing my room , i would scream and point at the curtains which my mum thought i was scared off, we moved house and thats when i met the angels, the american indian and the lady who had passed in the house. i would stay up all night and play with my new friends. luckily no one thought i was mad and i didnt get locked up. i could see peoples auras and being empathic i can feel how they feel. in my teenage years i was called weird , i was happy about this because i never fitted in anywhere.i went to church i loved sunday school i loved all the stories , i could see the saints in the church , again people would like and say i was away with the fairies, this didnt upset i was happy in my own energy because i knew my Angels were real, Then in 1996 when i miscarried whilst in university i was heartbroken at 20 years i was looking forward to becoming a mum,I thought i had done something wrong so i abandoned the church and my faith. i felt lost, a friend suggested to have some reiki i felt the divine energy and it felt good. no one can explain why we miscarry -its not meant to be, well i fell into such a depression, dark place i felt a failure, because i felt that beautiful energy and then i felt it go. By starting reiki healing and yoga it helped cope with my loss and, i l begin to forgive myself i left university and started as a runner in the design dept on Hollyoaks then i went on to be a script supervisor. My interests in holistic healing took over and i would help everybody and anyone body i could or who wanted healing. well being is the birth right of everyone on this planet and losing my first baby made me face my loss , experience grief and make me stronger. i took this attitude to my clients , being deaf i use my other senses and especially my intuition with my clients. i went on to have my daughter who is fit and healthy. i also miscarried twice more. Then my marriage broke down and became increasingly violent which was another heartbreak having gone through the miscarriages.Being a healer you are torn from wanting to help and facing the reality of they don't want your help.Being a human in a violent marriage can damage you forever and strip you of your self worth. When faced with the choice do you save your own life or leave your daughter with no parents because one will be dead and the other in prison seems like a no brainer but to do that is freedom. i chose freedom. i chose empowerment. i cant change the past, i dont stress about the future i stay gratefully in the now and i teach this through all my avenues i have learnt -mindfulness, meditation,angelic reiki, yoga,-to find the positive in all the negatives we each experience. GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: Kindness. i do not judge anybody. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS With care and positivity for others through truth, honesty and love HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Be in the here and now , breathe and focus. this will then help you gain the control you need to make the best decisions for your wellbeing. being aware by practising mindfulness and meditation helps calm the mind and ground you.
GOLDIE CHEUNG Goldie was born in Hong Kong in 1963. She has been married nearly 30 years and has spent the last 22 years in the UK. In Hong Kong Goldie worked in retail, managing a shop specialising in high quality antiques and curios, as well as a flower department in the Hong Kong Hyatt Hotel; but she has always had a great interest in exercise, Chinese dance and music, which she has studied, and went on to teach dance exercise at a University in Hong Kong. Her life changed dramatically when she was temporarily paralysed from the waist down in a sports accident. Upon regaining full mobility she suffered from chronic back pain and, not wanting to rely on medication, decided to take charge of her own life and study Tai Chi and Chi Kung as a way of taking back control of her body. She has been pain free now for many years and she attributes this to her study and practice of Tai Chi and Chi Kung. Through these efforts she went on to become a British Tai Chi Champion. Goldie also has a great interest and qualifications in other Holistic disciplines, and has worked for the Home Office as an interpreter. Goldie has taught tai chi, dance and belly dance at various clubs and venues in the North West, and has conducted workshops in educational establishments and other organisations such as HSBC. Goldie has TV and movie experience in the UK, having appeared on TV in Hong Kong as the winner of the European division of the TVB International programme “Minutes to Fame”, as well as a number of well known television programmes in the UK; and has also worked in the film “Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise”directed by Danny Boyle. But most of all she is known for her participation in X Factor 2011 where she was selected for the live finals. Goldie has always wanted to set a good example to others wanting to feel good and to look good whatever their age. Like most people her wish is to remain healthy and fit, to be confident and to maintain a youthful appearance. And so through her knowledge and experience she developed her “Chijuvenation” and “Face U Love” regimens. Chi is the universal ‘energy’, and by harnessing it alongside other holistic measures we can help rejuvenate ourselves. Goldie’s regimens are simple to follow, use non-strenuous techniques and everyone can enjoy them throughout the day. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE An ability to spread happiness around. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS With confidence and feel-good energy HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? meditation and mindfulness
JO LE'FEBOUR, mindful coach and domestic abuse survivor Prior to my marriage I was a happy go lucky woman living a free, independent life in London. I was a teacher by day and a party animal by night. It was there that I met my husband. He was a charmer, a DJ, songwriter and very handsome. However, sadly this is not a happily ever after love story as the marriage was far from happy. Quite quickly it turned sour and it developed into an abusive, unpredictable and often an unsafe place to be. We had two beautiful young children who I was desperate to provide them with a safe, happy home but the violence was escalating and I knew I had to find a way out. Obviously, there is so much more detail but probably not the right place to share it here. Lets just say I tried to leave on many occasions but that it never ended well. I felt totally trapped, hopeless and a shadow of my former self. Tragically just days after a yet another horrible incident I heard that my dad had been rushed into hospital. He was living in Lancashire and I was living in Brighton at the time. Sadly he died. It was the catalyst I needed to wake up to the fact that we only have one life and that it can be taken from us at anytime. I needed to take back control of my life, rebuild myself and live my truth. So I got help from the women's refuge, filled for a divorce and moved back up North to support my mum. It wasn't easy but the best thing that I did. I left my teaching job and followed my passions and happy to say that I now support others to discover their own truth, to rebuild their self image and to release their true potential. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE My bounceability - whatever is thrown at me I get back up and bounce back. If it wasn't for my violent, abusive marriage I wouldn't be who I am today. I see that it was a lesson that I needed at that time and nudged me into the right direction of doing the work that I love to do today which is to support women to rebuild after a divorce. My goal is to help them to release the past, rewire their thinking so that they can fly free from any limititations HOW TO DO INSPIRE OTHERS By walking my talk and reshaping my life since my own divorce. I had lost all of my confidence due to the years and years of abuse but now due to working on self development I am living a free life on my own terms. HOW TO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I keep myself aligned with my bigger vision, believing in my own abilities plus looking for the positive in every situation
RICHARD GAIR, fashion designer, artist and double organ transplant survivor I came through a very difficult time with my kidney and pancreas transplant and almost died. I have struggled with my mental mental health and had some very dark times but I am staying positive when the whole world seemed to be against me. Everyone told me I will never make it, but I launched my business GoGairy Hand Painted Leathers last year and against all odds I employ some incredibly talented artists who are all struggling in their own way. The fact that so much creative talent is literally going to waste is a crime. I would like to see more of these wonderful creative minds doing what they love to do and, in the process, earn a living and make the world a more beautiful place. I’ve tried to start the ball rolling in a small way and hope to be part of something bigger. I have daily health problems, I have a broken foot that needs fusing and I am awaiting an operation, I am also awaiting an operation to remove a hernia the size of a football from my abdomen. I take a daily cocktail of over 30 pills just to regulate my organs and stay alive but I am not pain free. I just get on with it HOW DO YOU INSIDE OTHERS? It breaks my heart when I hear that kids are leaving creative courses from college and university, only to find work in a dead end low paid job. I believe this is the foundation for many creative people suffering from problems with their mental health. By our very nature, creatives are sensitive to negativity and if symptoms are noticed, action needs to be taken. I’m no expert but I have gone through this and still do. I have close friends in the creative industry that suffer greatly with depression and debilitating mental health issues.I feel so much can be done to help and support these incredible individuals. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Remaining positive and being grateful. It’s been very difficult to be patient when you are told you have a life-threatening illness. That was the cherry on top of the illnesses, the depression and caring for my dad and dealing with his depression and his self-medication. I look after and care for my disabled uncle with learning disabilities. I try to look at the good things that could happen in the future rather than dwell on the crap that’s going on right now. It can be quite difficult. I locked myself away for over twenty years, not physically but into my own world. I was given a new hope and the chance of a new start after my life saving transplant. A special thank you to the perfect human being and his family who donated his kidney and pancreas after his death so that I could carry on. Much of this new life and venture is for him! HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED? The gratitude I have for the help and support I have received and continue to receive is like a drug. Knowing that people really do care is a beautiful feeling. After going through twenty something years of thinking nobody cared or loved me and that people even hated me for no reason, this new feeling is so empowering and gives me the drive to do the same for others and help people in pain realize that they are not alone, even when all the evidence around them supports the opposite. Difficult and sometimes nearly impossible but if you can somehow muster the strength which is in us all, you can accomplish almost anything!
FRANCESCA MENCA, single mum and entrepreneur I am 41, single mum to a 10 year old boy who is the love of my life. My son is on the spectrum, and has a condition called pathological demand avoidance, which is very newly diagnosed and very little known even by the experts. because of this, he had a very difficult start in school , and was excluded aged 5. My ex-husband and I had to really fight in order to get his diagnosis, find a school that knew PDA and was willing to cater for his needs, and fight the local authority in tribunal in order for that school to be assigned to us.
All the while, I was going through a very amicable but still very sad divorce, working full-time, all of this without any help, as my family lives in Italy. After having experienced what little support there is out there for families living with PDA, I started consulting with parents and schools in order to pass on and help them implement the right techniques. I also started the first ever italian blog and Facebook group about PDA, and in less than 3 months I was already helping over 500 families by translating publications and articles, creating infographics on the PDA techniques, and privately coaching many of them through their everyday challenges. (Www.Autismopdaitalia.com) Fast forward to 2018, and I unexpectedly lost my job, so I decided to go freelance and start working for myself. My main focus is to help new businesses set up Right in Order to become successful, from business plans to marketing strategies, event planning, etc. I am also a fierce backer of female founders, and I work with a network of female business owners, and absolutely thrive in mentoring women who are starting their career. I keep my mental sanity through hot yoga, strength training, good food, few faithful friends, a special men with an endless patients who has become my new partner, and trips home to Sardinia, where the sea and the sand wash away all that bothers me. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE I smile a lot. I look at everything with a positive attitude and never give up HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HVAE INSPIRED OTHERS The women I've trained and mentored in my marketing career say that I always help them to identify and reach their true potential. The families I work with say that I help them find the strength to never give up and always find new solutions for their children. My client say my passion for their projects shines through my work. I take great pride in all of the above. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Pressure helps me focus in some ways, I am result driven and I never work on projects I am not passionate about, which helps.
ANTHONY GRICE, small business owner (FIKA coffee, 08 Travel Direct, Mersey Boxing WCBI and charity fundraiser( raising over £100,000 for local charities) I’m blessed how my life has turned out. I run my businesses through hard work and dedication and always remain positive no matter what the situation you find yourself in. The glass is always half full. I try my best to make people smile and be positive about life. I regularly display quotes and daily thoughts about life on my shop messages boards to try make people smile coming to my shop or just walking past. Spread the love and good Karma and it will repay you in the long run. I’m not motivated by money, I’m just after a good life. The best things in life are free. The most happiest people I know don’t have much in life but they have each other and positive people in their circle of life. WHAT IS YOUE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? Having the life I have now. From growing up in Toxteth, my life wasn’t on the right track. I had many run ins with the law and a lot of my friends went to Jail to serve serious time behind the door or had been murdered. It was only a matter of time before I ended up as one of these statistics and had accepted a life of crime will be my future. I broke away from the circle and pursued a career in the RAF. This really grounded me and me taught me a lot about myself. From then to now i am blessed to have a wife who’s supported me along my journey and believes in what I set my mind to and also 2 amazing children, which I’m also blessed that I can give a better start to life and the things I couldn’t have when I was a child. I now have 5 businesses in which I have self funded through hard work and dedication WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I help change people’s lives through my charity boxing events. Along with the fundraising I’m able to give people the self confidence and belief in themselves. There is no better feeling when someone comes to me and says that I’ve saved there life for what I’ve helped them do and put them in the right path and they know where they’re heading. I do this because am a believer in good Karma! You do good for others and good will repay you. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS? By being positive about life! Its hard running my businesses, yet doing my fundraising events and being a family man. I always make time for my family and taking regular trips abroad! I love making somebody smile, laugh or be happy! This gives me the biggest kick of all! HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? By believing in the people around me! I have worked in many pressure cooker jobs throughout my younger years, I thrive on high pressure situations. I can remember being in school and my English teacher telling me that I will be a failure in life.What a thing to say to child but it helped make me the person I am today
THABO KYNOMO, 19, fashion designer and student Born in Zimbabwe, I emigrated to England when I was 4 years old with my Mother and two older siblings. We left Zimbabwe after the death of my Father when I was 4 and looked for new hope and a fresh start in England. Tough at first, adapting to the new culture and surroundings played a quintessential role in my creativity. My Mother is a teacher but had to work a second job in order to fund the sudden move and so a lot of my time as a child was spent at home watching cartoons, playing with toys and using my imagination. It was fair to say despite the loss, my Mother ensured I had a good childhood. It was these times as a child that my imagination and creativity grew and this formed the foundation to Letejar. I would often sit there and copy my favourite cartoons and draw them, only to create my own characters as my imagination was often wild. From then on, I began to grow up with dreams of being an animator. I had always been able to draw well and so I would research and copy cartoons from all cultures and styles in order to hone my skills. It was around 10 that I found my love for anime, from which the Japanese/Chinese culture is now intrinsic in my design. I would draw out my own comics and stories for fun and dress them in clothes from Japanese, Zimbabwean and British culture. It was then around 14/15 that my hobby of drawing coincided with my growing love for fashion and my understanding of a range of cultures. That is when Letejar began. Deriving from my nickname ‘TJR’ and well if I am honest the rest just formed itself - it is a depiction of experience growing up - encapsulating the trauma and joy of my life up until that point. Over time I continued to just draw and design concepts and I would get inspiration from almost anything be it shapes of cars, old garments, everyday objects - you name it. As a result, the name developed its own definition; “turning nothing into something, reshaping what society perceives as quality” this is Letejar. I turned nothing (the scraps of my childhood) into something (Letejar - a new and timeless culture). Ever since then, the culture and vision have grown from strength to strength and over time I have been perfecting my craft and honing my skills.Despite my determination and passion, I have had to go through several difficult setbacks especially in regards to education and background. Coming from a traditional background there has always been great emphasis on formal education and so it was mandatory for me to go through secondary school and university. This has made it quite difficult at times to balance my fashion design and my education, but I was not willing to give up. As a result, I was able to do both and my hard work finally has paid off as my Mother now, appreciates and accepts that I will be a fashion designer for the rest of my life. It was her hard work and dedication despite the setbacks and losses that inspired me to be so devoted to this and so this was something that really meant a lot to me. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I have had absolute faith in my destination and ambition. I have never doubted myself and that is what has forced me to work so hard and perfect my craft as I know my purpose and what I deserve. Failure is not an option.HOW HAVE YOU INSIPIRED OTHERS? I think my belief and ambition is often reciprocated by those around me and I always show them that having belief in your ability is one of the best things you can do, as a result, a lot of my friends have found something they are either good at or love and worked to perfect their craft. Furthermore, going into 2019 I preached all about positivity, explaining how in order to receive something positive you must give out something positive. This energy is the currency of the universe and it is important we use it positively; this is something I like to tell people whenever they face problems/obstacles that seem overwhelming. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I remember something a good friend of mine told me; “When feeling stressed about how much you have on your plate, remember how you felt when you had nothing on your plate.” This saying resonates with me especially as I sometimes can have so much to do trying to handle university work and my fashion design work and it is easy to lose focus. I just have to remind myself how far I have come already on my own and how much more is to come as a reward for my work - so have to stay focused and remember the end goal and vision.
JUDE LENNON, children's author Little Lamb Tales For 18 years I was a primary school teacher which I loved. Working with children and helping them to discover the joy of words, books, reading and writing has always been important to me. Five years ago following a bout of acute anxiety I made the difficult decision to leave teaching. I still wanted to share my love of all things books so I set up my own storytelling business Little Lamb Tales. When I won the Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate competition I decided to focus on getting one of my stories published. Since then my storytelling business has grown and I work with local councillors, schools, libraries, Liverpool Learning Partnership etc to deliver a range of services in schools including Storytelling workshops, Author visits, creative writing workshops, drama workshops and workshops for parents. I have now published fourteen books including five which feature my storytelling mascots Lamby, Flossie and the rest of the Woolly Crew. To date, I have shared the books with around 150,000 children across the North West area. The other collaboration I am particularly proud of is with Hal's Books. The illustrator of these books is autistic and felt there were no books he could relate to when he was younger. We worked together to create Hal, a main character who is autistic. The books follow him over a year (one in 1974 and one in 1977) and explore the challenges and solutions that are available to Hal. Parents and teachers have contacted us to say the books have been really helpful both for neurotypical and non neurotypical children. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE I'm a very positive person. The glass is always half full and I try to find solutions rather than barriers. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS People tell me I inspire them. For some it has inspired them to pick up a pen and write. For others it has inspired them to have a change in career. For others it has simply highlighted the importance of creativity and making space for it in their lives. I don't see myself as special, I'm just a woman who chose to take control of her life and choose a career that gave her a better life/work balance. Through my work I speak to a lot of school children and it's always lovely to receive feedback from them. Many have been in touch to say children have been inspired to read and write more following my visits. Not everyone can be or wants to be a writer but we can all be readers. Inspiring the next generation of book lovers is a real privilege. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I love a list! I make a to do list every day which helps me to prioritise jobs or activities. I have also learnt some great focusing techniques from other women in business and have applied these. I think the one I remember the most is 'eat the frog'. In other words, do the jobs you hate first then they are done. I have tried to stick to this and it really does give me a real sense of satisfaction when I can tick that horrible job off the list. I also use my network of business women to turn to when I need. I joined Bizmums about a year after setting up my business and have never looked back. There is a wealth of support, help, advice and more. I definitely think knowing a group such as that is available helps at times of stress or pressure.
ANITA THOMAS, costume maker and seamstress She started in local authority care and spent her teenage years from 14-18 as a run away on the streets of London. Anita had a difficult start to life. Escaping a series of violent relationships made a life for herself here in Liverpool where she has four children and as a single parent raised them alone. She has had many struggles in life and had managed to overcome them all. After stuggling with being morbidly obese and struggle with mental illness, ptsd and other issues she does not want public she has overcome all of this and maintained a positive attitude. Anita shares her stories with everyone and has many skills that she has learnt throughout life. The creative skills she learnt she likes to share and teach to people, Anita believes that being able to create or help someone make something amazingly creative acts as therapy to both herself and the people she spends her time with. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Commitment and passion to everything I do, I will never give up especially on something I have started and I am very passionate about my work and my family. HOW HAVE YOU INSPIRED OTHERS? As a single parent who came from nothing, I demonstrate to people how you can always change your life around and make something wonderful from it and teach others that your past does not dictate your future. Anything is possible if you just give it a try. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED: I set small goals and work towards them which all adds up to my bigger goals and where I would like to achieve in life. I am learning to live in the present and enjoy happiness for that moment, living like this is more rewarding and helps me remain focused.
BLOSSOM HILL, 36, single mother and inventor I had Isobelle in 2009 and when I conceived it was a huge shock as I was led to believe I couldn't have children and this was my one and only chance. I had been with my ex partner for ages and we tried for 5 years. We split up and then he got with someone else and straight away started to have lots of babies, so I assumed it was me even though I never had any medical tests. Isabelle, my daughter changed my life completely.. I got a brand new outlook on life. I knew I needed to find my way. I suffer from acute Fibromyalgia and I am in constant pain. I am classed as1 half disabled but I don't want my daughter to see me as weak o sick. She can see a strong woman in me and I have good days when I can work at home. I So I have been focusing on an invention to help Fibromyalgia, making the illness work for me. It's a chronic pain syndrome and the migraines can floor me. I have invented a suit a suffered can were to help ease the flare up. I just want to help other sufferers, stimulate neves and compressed material to hold you together as you ache from head to toe. I have thought of everything and it's getting some really great feedback from some very influential high street brands who can help me get this on the market WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Never giving up HOW DO YOU THINK YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE? I turn everything from negativity. I dont ike it, it sucks life out of everyone and support everyone as I want that support, Igive out to receive HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSRE, I focus on Isobelle, try to be a good mum for there is no greater blessing
PAUL BENTLEY, No More Knives founder, Personal Trainer community leader the founder of the No More Knives campaign, a Liverpool based charity set up with the aim to help get young children off the street and away from knives gang violence. Alongside this, Paul is also a ambassador for fighting for autism. This something he is extremely passionate about. He is committed to making a difference to help improve the quality of life for all children and their families living with autism. Paul was born and raised in Liverpool and extremely proud of his city. He continues to give back to the city anyway he can, at Christmas time every year Paul givse one local family in need £500 to help ease the financial pressures of the festive period. As well as his charity work Paul also copresents on Radio City every Thursday morning. Paul’s topic of the day page on Facebook has became a huge success followed by 1000’s of fans. Paul’s hilarious comedy video antics continue to draw people in from all corners of the globe helping to put a smile on peoples face daily. Paul’s main job is as a personal trainer based in dedicated fitness. Once again Paul continues to make a positive difference to people’s lives through training programs. As a previous MMA fighter Paul still enjoys the sporting side of things. Paul is the owner of the BDC cage fighting company which produces sell out shows many times throughout the year. Lastly but certainly not least Paul is a massive family man. He works tirelessly for his two children Paul and Lilly who are the centre of his entire world. Paul is a committed, loving father like no other and everything he aims to achieve is to benefit his children’s present and future and make them eternally proud. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE; Coming out of prison and becoming today’s man WHAT INSPIRES YOU? My children HOW DOYOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I’m an ex royal marine ex pro fighter and spent 5 years behind a cell there is nothing in this world that can shock me
JAMES JEBSON, photographer Being the youngest of three brothers growing up with out a father, I took inspiration from my eldest brother Michael who play a massive role in my life as not only my brother, but also my father figure, role model, best mate & mentor. I left school and drifted from 1 boring job to another before- I took the choice to go back to university in my late 20’s & complete my photography degree. The news of then expecting a child hit 6 months into my course & was left with the choice of pushing forward with my studies & chase my dream of becoming a professional photographer, or to gain regain immediate employment in another boring job somewhere to financially support my unborn daughter.
I pushed forward to study for my degree & set up a photography business in my kitchen while studying. During the time I completed my degree - I worked 50+ hour weeks to balance out supporting my family while chasing my goals & today I am proud to own & operate three businesses from photography, filmmaking, training & mentoring as well as marketing consulting. I’ve worked all over Europe as well as San Fransisco, New York & Mexico with clients including JD Gyms, Forever Unique, Byron Burger, Manchester United, Liverpool FC & many many more. I have one a series of awards, be signed as a global ambassador for Panasonic, spoken at The National Photography show on behalf of global cinematic camera company BlackMagic & currently write on a freelance basis for national magazine “Digital Photographer Magazine”. From someone with no prospects, in a dead-end job to taking the calculated risk, worked tirelessly but always remain positive on life. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Never giving up. I’ve always dusted myself off & kept on going. The untimely loss of my brother Mike at 43 brought me to my knees. He died after a ten month aggressive battle with cancer. The knock on effects from grief have been something I have never experienced before, however I am turning my journey into a vlog, podcast series & hopefully a book to help other who may go through a similar journey. We also set up a fund in memory of Michael to fund experiences for people with a terminal diagnosis with money already being donated to a number of families across the UK. You cant control the events that hit you in your life - however you can control how you react to them. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I regularly received messages online saying I help people out. & have a number of kind hearted people who have stated they love to follow my journey for their own inspiration. I’ve been open with my journey into grief & the subsequent depression & PTSD diagnosis I received & hold the battle with mental health close to my heart. I often reach out to people I feel need support on a personal basis, particularly those who are having to support others. I also regularly speak at schools, colleges & universities about my own journey, the pressures put on young people to “have a plan” & how to overcome obstacles while chasing goals. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I have my own supports. I see a therapist on a weekly basis & believe that the UK really needs a better understanding of how this can benefit someone, its incorrectly seen as just needed for recovery however I believe it the same as having a personal trainer but for your mind.
DANIELLE LUNDSROM, Author spiritual heale More importantly I am a mother to the most incredible autistic boy, who has made me the humble caring understanding person I am today I think I inspire others buy being my true self and totally authentic honest and open about pain as well as pleasures, life for me isn’t all about what I can achieve, but more about who I am becoming in the process, and what I am learning from when the going gets tough, My greatest attribute is my people skill life skills communication skills and having massive empathy compassion and understanding for every walk of life, that’s buy far my greatest gift to this world and the fact that I am a decent human being really helps, I am a natural healer and so passionate about my own story and how I believe I created my own reality, I love nothing more than reminding other people how incredible they are in all their imperfections exactly as they r, I love other people’s story’s, we all learn and grow from each other, it fascinates me how people’s minds work and how we get to create r own vibration which becomes our reality, I have grown so much since writing my first book, From a really hard working hairdresser who thought she knew a lot, only to realise i had so much more to learn, and that falling to my knees was what taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons, and that if I can look up I can get back up stronger than ever before, I found that my pain became my fuel to write a second book which will be published this year When I’m feeling under pressure, I remind my self that my well being and peace of mind is far more important than any dead line work load or achievement, and that it is ok to STOP what your doing and put YOU first, hug a family member put your phone down as nothing works if YOU don’t, if your not fully charged your battery’s will run flat and your work load will just pile up, put YOU first as everything has a way of falling in to place if u just trust the process and listen to your body when it tells u to slow down, Take one step at time, as very small steps lead to massive leaps of faith, REMEMBER life’s not a race or a competition, its your very own personal journey to treasure, it may not feel at times like it’s going to plan, but it will always plan out in the end if you trust and believe that it WILL, I believe self love is a huge part of success, because to value your own worth is not only going to heal you but it’s going to help so many other people, self love and my own personal healing journey, has been my driving force, as when I’m in love with my self I’m in love with life and everyone in it
SOPHIE PICTON, 23, owner of Changing Seasons and influencer I have always known as far as I can remember, that I wanted my own business and that I wanted to do something different for myself I lost my dad to a brain tumour when I was 8 years old, it really affected me and I struggled for a long time to come to terms with my grief. I had to grow up quite quickly and realised from a young age that life is too short to not be brave and take a leap at doing something that makes you happy. Because of this philosophy and because I had probably been through a lot more than my peers at such a young age, when I reached high school I was severely bullied. I had death threats, had no friends and was suffering deeply with low confidence until eventually my family and I had enough and I moved schools. I thrived at my new school and met like minded friends who supported my aspirations. After finishing school I studied care at college which led me to become a nurse assistant, working nights. Although I loved looking after the elderly and found my job very rewarding I knew I wanted more. I loved fashion, admiring what other people wore, trawling websites to see what was in season until eventually researching clothing suppliers and manufacturers, starting small by supplying accessories through Instagram. I am astounded at just how much my business has grown in those years to the point where i have recently been able to give up my care assistant job to run Changing Seasons full time. I am extremely grateful for the support I have had from family, friends, customers and the industry as it has been (and still is) very hard work. I suffer with my mental health and have had very bad bouts of depression and anxiety, at times where I have struggled to get out of bed. However, since starting Changing Seasons 3 years ago I have found a purpose, something that motivates me and that I am extremely proud and passionate about and despite all life's trials and tribulations I try to find the positive in every day and try to inspire others that they can also achieve whatever they work hard for, and our mental health won’t stop us. I always get told “I can’t believe you have depression/anxiety, you look so normal” or “your only 23” (I’ve had it since I was around 16) but have only recently opened up about it. Why do we think that you have to look a certain way to have depression/anxiety or be a certain age? You could be standing next to someone who looks completely happy, but underneath you don’t know what is going on in their lives. I am forever grateful I have a big social media platform to be able to discuss matters like this. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: Courage. The courage to follow my dreams, to keep going and to take a risk. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE? By empowering them. I am always happy to offer advice and support to anyone starting their own business. I also think it is important to lift each other up and I’m a massive advocate for supporting other local businesses and often use the power of social media to do this. I love the community Changing Seasons has allowed me to be a part of and I want others to be empowered by that and included. I am always posting about mental health awareness, and about my own journey, I get hundreds of messages a day regarding this and it makes me feel so lucky to be able to help others, I never had this and it’s so important for me to be able to help others and let them know they are not alone. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I always remember why I started my business, where I came from, what I have been through, how far I have come and where I want to go in the future. I look back on what I have achieved so far and this motivates me to keep going. Just seeing how happy my customers are with their purchases brings me immense joy and I love making people happy through my passion. How you feel about yourself plays a massive role in your mental health and if Changing Seasons can bring a little bit of positivity to someone's day then I have achieved above and beyond what I set out to do. this is how I remain focused.
KIERON BIMPSON Meet Kieron Bimpson, father of murdered tot Francesca who died in her bed in a horrific arson attack on the Bimpson family home in December 2008. The murder investigation was widely covered by Crimewatch UK,This Morning, Jeremy Kyle and is the subject of a film called Nightmare in Suburbia (Burning Jealousy) and was featured as a main story all over the mass media and television ,radio. This resulted in the arrest and conviction of 43 year old Graham Heaps at Liverpool Crown Court and he is now serving a minimum 28 years Kieron Bimpson not only had to cope with the loss of his precious little girl Francesca, but his family also lost the entire contents of their home including everything they had every owned from sentimental items to domestic appliances also clothes. The family appealed for help, whilst they lived in unfurnished temporary accommodation and were extremely grateful for the generosity and kindness shown by the people of Merseyside and throughout the region. Kieron and his twin brother, Gerard and a group of trustees formed Francesca Bimpson Foundation, This charity was established for the creation of a one stop shop of support for all victims of serious crime in Francesca name and memory. Providing facilities including Respite, Rehabilitation, Advice, Guidance, Support and Awareness to individuals and families affected by serious crime. Kieron says," During the last 9 years,we have maintained an excellent relationship with the local community and supported hundreds of people and have gained widespread recognition through our social intervention and community outreach projects delivered across the region. We have continued to establish our support and rehabilitation footprint throughout Merseyside through our support and resource centre HQ Based in Huyton, Knowsley and Head office in Dale Street Liverpool . We are an accredited education training and development Provider through the awarding Body of ASDAN, and are Mental Health First Aid Practitioners MHFC offering qualifications recognition and training and development for our community crime prevention programmes and service users who access our education programmes. These programmes are delivered by our highly qualified and trained staff and volunteers at Francesca Bimpson Foundation." They offer counselling,therapies and an onsite creche and soft play area for children's rehabilitation through play and relaxation called Francescas Starzone and Play Planet. We have various community outreach programmes available for Rehabilitation Support advice guidance and continue to offer the Karate for Inner City Kids (KICK) and Martial arts classes self defence classes as part of our Gang Resistance Education And Training and Outreach work within our Local communities at risk and affected by serious crimes. Kieron Bimpson and his family have shown strength and resilience and work tirelessly through their charity to ensure Francesca is never forgotten.
NADINE BAYNES Nadine went through a very traumatic upbringing. At age 19 after going through voluntary miscarriage for which she received no support, Nadine spiralled into a severe depression. This led to a life of self-destruction for Nadine as she turned to alcohol and drugs in order to escape from her intense feelings and sense of failure. She was lost for many years, hopeless. Years later someone reached out to her in her despair and she began a road of recovery. Nadine felt alive and free for the first time ever. And she began to learn how to give back and that in the giving back she received so much. Helping others became her passion. In 2003 Nadine had a further miscarriage which absolutely devastated her as she had found a wonderful partner and felt her dreams were all coming true. Nadine hit a further depression but her saving grace was that she now knew that asking for help works and so she received help for this bleak time in her life and came to terms with the loss. Having qualified as a Psychotherapist, Nadine was unsure of what to do with her skills, wasn’t sure where to take it. And then it hit her, “of course, I will help those who have been through Infant Loss!” Nadine was aware from her own experiences of infant loss that there wasn’t much help out there and that people were struggling for support. So she set up a Charity in 2015 – Lighthouses Therapy Services – specifically aimed at bereaved parents of Infant Loss ; miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, ectopic pregnancy and termination of pregnancy due to fetal anomaly. What Nadine loves about supporting the parents is that often it will just be the woman who receives the attention post-loss and the men are left on the sidelines, unnoticed. Nadine’s Infant Loss Counselling Retreats are for women AND MEN. Losing her brother to suicide many years ago has highlighted to Nadine the need for men to receive support, to open up about what is going on in their hearts and in their minds. 85 men in the UK commit suicide every week. 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in loss. Nadine is so passionate about letting people know they are not alone, there is help. You can get through it. She is testimony to that. WHAT'S YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Passion and compassion. HOW DO YOU INSIRE PEOPLE ? Nadine has inspired others by instilling hope into their lives, and she is also their greatest cheerleader. HOW DO YOU COPE UNDER PRESSURE? “When I am feeling under pressure I have to remember why I am doing this and of the bereaved parents that need our support. This helps me put one foot in front of another, to just keep going. I also have an amazing Coach friend who will give me the much needed kick up the backside”.
JULIE HAWKINS, entrepreneur My journey from teens to parenting was pretty ‘normal’. I had a happy upbringing, I left school at 15, worked in various jobs for 20 years, had relationships, some toxic, bought a house, got married, and was ‘playing the game’, but by my late 20’s I was an unhappy person. Life was hard, disappointing, the living costs v wage were creeping me into debt and I wasn’t fussed about living. I was pretty beat, I’d miscarried and my marriage had ended and my home repossessed. By 35 I was propping up the bar ready to be carried out in a box. (with a very ‘bubbly’ personality hiding the killed spirit). Then I was blessed with a second chance to have a child. I was not going to let her struggle as I had. I knew that I would be alone with her, and so I embarked on a law degree to improve my career prospects by the time she was old enough to know if we were struggling. And as my pregnancy progressed, I designed what is now known as the KIH Bed Pregnancy Cushion. It was going to be just for me but due to widespread positive feedback I realised I needed to bring it to market, but how? I couldn’t paint my nails let alone start a business. So for two years I sacrificed all that was possible, and I created market ready product, health and safety being the most important thing particularly given the earlier miscarriage. I launched the company in 2013 and for years I have worked, against adversity, in so many ways. I won my first award in 2014 and in 2016 I graduated in law. The story is a long one as to what the last 7 years have entailed, but it has been worth every minute. I am the happiest person I know (in my heart not in my face!) and I do not want it to be that hard for anybody else. So now I am taking everything that I have experienced, and I am using it as fuel to light this fire that will help warm others. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Setting up the Single Mums Business Network is without a doubt my purpose. What I have experienced over the years I do not want any single mum to suffer. There is little excuse for society putting each other down and unwittingly keeping each other down instead of lifting each other up. I have a very clear vision of who I will help and how I will help them and much work is to be done to reduce stigma and dispel misconceptions. Whilst I will continue to work in other areas the SMBN is my way to support those whose journey is only understood by those who have similar experiences, whilst tackling issues that impact most of society (i.e. low pay, archaic working hours and high living costs) Once you feel inner peace trickling through your veins you absolutely want this for everybody else. There is no ulterior motive. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS By 2015 when I realised I had re-gained control over my life and I had managed to break down and beat depression I wanted to share all that I had learned with others. I set-up a positive affirmation page on FB and regularly shared feel good and inspiring quotes and wrote a little help book called finding happiness and freeing your spirit and uploaded it to Amazon so that people could read on kindle for free. As the support and strength I received from networking in 2014 was lifechanging I have continually paid it forward and go out of my way to help anybody in my path who needs a helping hand. I hope to inspire those who feel helpless, to feel amazing and accomplished. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I re-organise myself. I clear down my lists and add 5 things to each day in the diary to enable myself not to feel like it all has to be done in one go.. and if it does all have to be done in one go I head out to the woods to walk the dog & speak to mother nature. Taking 30 mins out gives me completely fresh focus to achieve what I need to achieve that day without procrastination.
SCOTT GAVIN, owner Party Central Entertainments I lost my way a little. And unfortunately had a mental breakdown which let to me throwing myself infrovt of a car. Lucky for me I survived A few months after my breakdown I somehow ended up auditioning for a Tv show 🤷♂️ And successfully got it from this point it was and still is a whirlwind I was paid £26,000 to give pitch a business idea and set it up. Now nearly 4 years on my business is as strong as ever bigger and better every year After a few months of setting the business up I wanted to help others and give back so every Christmas I go out handing lunches out to homeless every Christmas I finds family in need. And buy there whole Christmas Day dinner for them and there family including drinks desserts. Crackers. And last year even bought a present for each of them. From each of them NOT from me. Although this isn't a life changer it really does help these families have a wonderful day. HOW DO DO INSPIRE PEOPLE? By showing them dreams can come true you can achieve your dreams and change your life Well this is what my fan base say to me anyway I'm not sure I have but they all say it like this to me. And the papers say this too HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I push hard I look at my wife and kids. To make me realise why Ido what I do. My animals help relax me they also make me realise I do what I do to rescue them to. Under pressure for me is more of a slap in the face to wake me up. To make me pic my game up I have 2 disabled children 1 autistic 1 Down syndrome every day I wake up and realise just how great my life is having such wonderful inspirational children. My Positivity comes from my 6 children and my amazing wife.
CLARISSA STRICKLAND It's only 3 years ago I was struggling in a job as a registered nurse trying to keep my own mental health afloat. In October 2016 it all got too much for me and I tried to take my own life. I've never felt that low and empty before in my life, if you haven't been there its hard to describe. A few amazing things happened that day and it makes me believe I survived for a reason. I made it my mission to get well and use the experience as a means of growth not shame. I've been open about my depression since then on social media, to friends to anyone who needs to know it's OK not to be OK and to seek help without shame or guilt. I began to work on myself and understanding myself holistically, so my mental health wasn't a separate entity but a part of me that needs as much care as my physical body. I retrained as a Holistic Life Coach last year and have been building my business Good Vibrations since then also teaching reiki courses. I help people understand their own journey and how adversity can be a catslyst for massive personal growth because it's where we find our strengths. It's been a tough few years but I have learned so much about myself and now have self love, passion and purpose, something I never dreamed of 3 years ago. I want to help as many people as I can see what they can achieve if they believe in themselves WHAT'S YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? My hardcore resilience which I have learned during my life but mainly in the past 3 years. My breaking point was a pivotal moment in creating who I am today so I look at the experience positively now. Life would be different without being resilient. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE? I feel I may inspire people with my honesty about my illness and life in general. I have people message me a lot when they are struggling and I'll help where I can. Sometimes an ear is all that's needed. HOW DO YOU COPE UNDER PRESSURE? I self reiki every day to remain balanced and it helps me cope with stress and any times I'm feeling the pressure. A self care routine is definitely key to me remaining well. Thank you so much for the nomination
LAILA ABOUSHAKRA, make up artist My journey to where it has took me today hasn't been a easy one, like most... After my Dad died when I was 11...it wasn't always plain sailing childhood for me and my brother with my mum. We didn't have the best teenager years really. I always wanted to succeed in life make something of myself. But along the way to get where I am today was never easy. There was times I was seriously depressed and never thought that i could make something of myself. I would pick myself up and put this smile on my face and say i can do it. I came across a course decided that I wanted to make sure my daughter has the best life the best childhood the best memories and never struggle like I did.... 2 and half years on my business is making it self known to people by word of mouth. And I cant wait what the future holds as I have a goal what I achieve and if I carry on having the positive mindset and people around me I know I will get there. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? My passion for makeup, never letting anyone stopping what I want, always thriving to achieve bigger and better. Also making other women feel better about themselves whether that can be to talk and offer advice or giving them a makeover. I care a lot for a lot of people. And how they feel is important to me. HOW HAVE YOU INSPIRED PEOPLE? By telling them to be who they are never be someone else. Be true to yourself be honest with yourself even honest with people. I always , always preach never let negativity effect your mind even if its people doing it. I always say put yourself first and once you are happy with yourself and what you want to do in life, life will be so much happier. And you achieve great things and you goal of what you want to do. I always say to my clients your happiness is most important and don't let anyone tell you different. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? To keep myself focused under pressure can be really hard. And if it gets to me I take time out. I think how can I improve?, how can I get to that level?, how can I do things I want to do ? I then put my mind to thinking I have been at my lowest point where i couldn't see anyway of surviving, I couldn't think I can be better version of myself.. and it clicks and I say I have achieved my business all by myself. No helping hand, so I can do what pressure comes my way I can do anything and I visualise where I want to be and it's great achievement when I succeed. It shows to everyone else anyone can do it if you put your mind to it.
MARIE McCOURT Marie is a local Billinge resident, who, for years has campaigned for a law to passed in the courts "Helen's Law". Marie's daughter Helen was murdered in February 1988 and her body has never been found. Her killer Ian Simms was the first person ever to be convicted without the presence of a body, due to the overwhelming evidence against him. Marie has campaigned that convicted killers should never be released from prison, without revealing the whereabouts of the body. This law has recently been passed. Marie, her family and friends have suffered for over 30 years without the closure of being able to lay Helen to rest. This law will hopefully lead to this never happening to another family.
PAUL DAVIES, owner of Davies Ironworks I had been previously trained as a fabricator welder prior to founding the company. I sustained a football injury whilst in my previous employment and while sitting at home resting up, the idea of setting up my own company was in my head. I had thought about it for quite some time, but I knew the time was right to take the leap of faith. It was make or break for me and my dream. As I was off work for a few months I had time to look around for a business premises and I was able to find a unit on interchange motorway on Wilson road in Huyton.I started off with literally nothing. I had a stick set welder (which was borrowed) a grinder, and a kettle. As time went by I was able to afford second hand cutting tools, drills, and most of all a brand new welding set of my own!My business journey started slow, so slow I nearly gave up on hope as the first 3 months nothing was coming through the door until one day my first customer came in for a small front gate, this was literally the first bit of work I had made since I opened up the workshop!Fast forward to 2019, I now have a fully functioning workshop with all my own tools, an office, a jumbo transit van and everything else I need to carry out my job as a fabricator welder.What makes Davies Ironworks a success is all down the style of work that is produced in the workshop and out of the workshop too. Professionalism is a very important aspect to me and important to show to others. A great attitude and the knowledge of the trade which also reassures the client. The way forward for Davies Ironworks is to take an apprentice on for 4 days a week which will give us 30 hours per week and be able to pass a trade on and learn someone new skills, The age range suitable would be 16-17, I would also like to take a female on as many people think my trade is a man’s job only, I disagree, I think anyone can do it if they put their mind and heart into it, You do not hear of many female welders who have just left school so it would be nice to be the first in the area to do so. Also, the idea of keeping someone in full time employment after the 12 moths is up is a great idea too. One of our most famous pieces are the gates at Foxes bank cemetery in Whiston which made local news and newspapers and got us recognised as the best at what we do in our field of work. My future plans for Davies Ironworks are to extend the workforce and grow bigger as a brand. I would like to take on more staff, have more vehicles and also get a bigger premise or another unit. Maybe one day importing my work overseas were the customer receives the job as a flat pack concept and can assemble the job wherever they are in the world
THE MARTIN GALLIER PROJECT (Set up by Jessica Gallier) The Martin Gallier Project began following the suicide of Jessica’s father Martin Gallier Aged 55. On the day her Dad died, with 4 younger siblings and a 3 month old baby, She became the head of the family. Following her fathers funeral the inquest began, an inquest that would go on to last 9 months. Unable to access Legal Aid despite the state being represented for the 9 month process Jessica was left to represent her Father when the coroner ruled an “alcohol related death” rather than suicide. The burden of proof for suicide is “beyond reasonable doubt” which is a difficult threshold to reach. The Senior Coroner for Gloucestershire made this ruling based on the assumption that no services were aware of her fathers suicidal thoughts, Jessica knew otherwise. Jessica challenged the Coroner in true Legally Blonde style, and provided the little yet powerful evidence that she had to suggest that services were aware of his plans. Jessica was unwilling to a) feed false statistics into our system to suggest that suicide rates were lower than they were b) feed the stigma surrounding suicide c) allow her siblings to be given the belief that they should feel ashamed.
Following the inquest Jessica knew she had to do something with the information she had seen and the painful situation she had been through. Jessica realised that there were many times during her Dads journey that the family could have saved his life had they been educated to do so. With that The Martin Gallier Project (Gallier House C.I.C) was born. Jessica and her co director Claire fundraised the money needed to qualify to deliver Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and applied for a lottery grant to carry out the work. In January 2019 they received £10,000 from the national lottery to pilot their program. The concept was to deliver the suicide first aid (ASIST) to individuals supporting a loved one who has previously attempted suicide. They rolled out the concept in April and July and know that 70% of the individuals trained have already saved a life. In February 2019 they opened Wirral’s first and only Suicide Prevention Centre in New Ferry. The first life was saved on day 4!
The centre now offers a range of activities that promote wellbeing with an overall focus on suicide prevention. Statistics prove that those bereaved by suicide are at much higher risk of ending their own life, so jessica partnered with SOBS to offer Bereavement By Suicide support groups. The Martin Gallier centre have bereavement counselling for both children and adults and work closely with local organisations to support those at risk. They offer walking groups for new mums who may be isolated. They offer Martins Man Cave for men to talk openly in an informal non clinical setting, free crystal healing and facial reflexology, peer support They accept individuals in self assessed crisis and provide suicide interventions. They also chaperone individuals in crisis to A&E and wait until they are assessed. They offer crystal healing, stress management workshops, arts & crafts & peer support. They controversially mix individuals bereaved by suicide with those suffering with suicidal thoughts, they believe it helps both parties. They tie notes of Hope to bridges. The team is incredible. The team of volunteers came on board early 2019 and are mainly made up of families bereaved by suicide who want to help others. The volunteers Gary, Jane, Sharon, Sofia, Anna & Paul go above and beyond to build and sustain The Martin Gallier Project whilst most importantly saving lives.
Volunteers are empowered to create their own projects within the organisation which seems to bring a new lease of life to those bereaved. The most successful of which seems to be Martins Man Cave and Crystal Healing. They have a retail facility within the centre where they sell lovely things made by lovely local people who suffer with mental health or bereavement.
KERRIE GRIFFIN-ROGERS, entrepreneur I have spent 7 years building up 5 business from nothing when I was left with not only a 300k mortgage I didn’t know we had but two children and no one to help me in an isolated farm house in wales. All the services were cut to the property all money was emptied from the bank accounts! I was finished! Devastated I used working on the house as a distraction. I sold quite literally everything I felt we could do without to buy stock to sell as a business to support my family. Slowly my business grew but it wasn’t until I started my own clothing range with £500 and a government grant of the same to buy a computer that things started to become clearer. Suffering from debilitating depression from the mental cruelty after a divorce. I woke one morning and realised I was their only provider... I set small goals and when I had achieved them I set bigger and bigger ones until after three years of anti depressants I came of the tablets and learned how to cope mentally. We were left devastated I stopped eating and things got really dark. The only thing that kept me going was this little bubbly girl my youngest daughter full of energy and kindness. I visited towns all around the country taking my one size clothing range to empower women who were body conscious. I empowered women all over the country I did about 18 shows a year. I also started my house as a B&B I converted my garage into a holiday let and before long I was paying this ridiculous mortgage from all my different channels of income alone.My holiday let (Turtledove Hideaway) has been up for many award and been in 24 interiors magazines. I won Best Country House 18 months ago with the main house. I had studied as an interior designer and built my confidence slowly back with each magazine article. I paint as part of my healing and recently exhibited at a national art exhibition. I’m in the process of finding the right publisher for my finished book. I plan to publish then go around the country doing talks to inspire other women to be independent emotionally and financially. The last two years since I really started becoming successful I was still suffering domestic abuse. I spent £32,000 last year on solicitors and barristers but no one knew my case better than me, so I taught myself to become a Barrister over night! I made many many mistakes but I am now the only woman in history to have won a case of my kind. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? My ability to listen, be sympathetic yet firm and evolve when change is needed. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I have fought against all odds, I have achieved incredible things when I should have been crying under my duvet. Life is how ever you want it to be every day you are in charge so make the most of every moment. Success is defined only by your thoughts. You and only you are in charge of your own destiny. I have written a book not published as yet and I have about 20 or so reviews, the book is based on my true story, the reviewers are unknown to me and everyone has said how inspiring the book is. I seam to attract people who are s little bit lost for some reason I learned how to dowse which is the most powerful mind blowing medicine I have ever seen. With my experience with years of being knocked down emotionally and using my dowsing technique and my positive mental attitude I have literally changed people’s life’s. HOW DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSUREI use lists and work my way through them and if it doesn’t get done today I don’t beat myself up, I sleep get up early and come at it full force the following day.
MARK WILCOCK, widower and blogger On the 2nd of May 2017, my life changed forever. Just after midday. I left my house a happily married 37-year-old father to a then 8-month-old daughter. Within a few hours, I was sitting in an ambulance en route to the hospital, a single parent widower in shock. Like the flick of a switch, her heart had stopped instantly. Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (a cardiac arrest from a disturbance in the heart’s rhythm) had taken my wife. We hadn’t even had the chance to say goodbye. It had taken a baby’s beautiful and devoted Mummy with no remorse! How do you even begin to pick up the pieces after such a tragic loss? This question plagued me. I found myself wanting to share my experiences and find answers from people just like me, widowed young and caring for grieving children. My search for those people seemed fruitless. It just made me feel even more isolated. When my grief was raw I wanted nothing more than to speak to someone who had been through my pain. Support mechanisms for young men, especially single-parent widowers, are very few and far between, as I discovered. It was so easy to feel isolated – nobody understood what I was going through. Having no preparation or support on dealing with the sudden death experience of a loved one. I encountered some of the dark variables of grief. Stages such as bad health, depression and alcohol dependency. I didn’t just lose my wife, I lost my entire identity. The external labels of ‘widower’ and ‘Father’ were all I had left to define me I somehow, over time, made the brave decision to live my life. I wanted to pick up the pieces. I had to make my own blueprint to adjust. I knew I had to keep myself mentally engaged, I wanted to choose life and meaning. I had to quickly come to terms with the new me and learn to adapt to what I was now all about. Having a child, I couldn’t afford to stop because I had someone who depends on me. To process what I’d become, I knew I had to embrace my grief first. As I didn’t want to be sad, alone, delusional, lost, or without purpose. And yet, that was exactly what I needed to embrace in order for me to process my grief. I’ve always thought about when life comes into the world. We’re made to be prepared before and after. We receive an endless supply of professional face to face appointments and support materials. Even health visitors visit our homes after the birth of a child to ensure everyone as expected. Sadly, when life goes the other way, this is not the case.
This led me to eventually start my blog. I desperately wanted to express all the experiences and emotions I had fought through. I knew that I needed a long-term outlet for my grief. I knew I could turn my negative energy into a positive one. My blog has given me the ability to reach out and support fellow widows and widowers. I have made a strong network with other single parent widowers both physically and virtually. I also wanted to challenge the perceptions of male grief and the entire ‘Harden up’, ‘Man up’ and ‘Suck it up’ medals of honour we expect to wear. All sorts of people started to get in touch: women and not just men; old not just young; people who had lost their husbands or wives; parents who had lost children; partners who had not yet started grieving because their terminally ill husbands or wives were still finding the strength to hang on; teachers who had found some suggestions for how to deal with children who had lost or were facing loss; and people wanting to understand how to help their own loved ones suffering the pain of bereavement. My aim now is to give a real insight into raw and live grief. I’ve documented a lot of the different stages I fought. All my work and blog explores themes of loss and grief from both my own point of view and how my daughter might respond in the future. I try to live a happy life nowadays though I know this isn't always possible. So I focus more on living an interesting life - which seems more possible. Of course, with my sprinkles of happiness thrown in along the way.
LAUREN GANDER, 19, charity fundraiser I was born with mild spina bifida and my parents were told that I may never walk the doctors couldn’t be sure However I did walk and from age 7 years on I undertook a mission to help others who were not as lucky as I felt I was. And to the age of 16 I have raised a total of £500.000.00 for various charities undertaking anything to raise money or awareness of people who faced difficulty or disability In 2012 I was nominated by one of my charities to be an Olympic torchbearer for London olympics and walked my slot as a tribute to the fact that I was able to do so when faced all my life that I may never have been able to. Things have turned around and I feel I have become the parent as my father had to enter residential care due to dementia and violence against my mother and now I juggle studies at university with caring for and supporting my mother who was always my rock and supporter but now requires support after the loss of my father I still carry out charity work where I can and in September my mum and I are both doing the memory walk for Alzheimer’s in Southampton I still have my own worries and pain with my own condition but never let it get me down I am always positive WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I am truly am a positive person always seeing the positive and I am truly grateful for my condition not being worse than it is HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I keep focused purely based on what I said in that worrying about myself or if my condition could worse isn’t going to help or change anything and even if it did I still should make the most of everyday in case that happens So I try live everyday if it’s My last day as in I truly believe you only have one life and life is a gift and I don’t plan on wasting it and I appreciate the ability of how it can change from moment to the next and I try and do enjoy every moment and I take that into my work my job my studies my exams and my charity work
DARREN GALVIN, founder ExpertApps Darren came from the face of adversity after struggling for years in business keeping his head above water, as a self-confessed workaholic this had a huge impact on his family life too which eventually led to a marriage breakdown where he left his family home to move in to run down shared accommodation. It was this adversity that helped Darren to see the path he later took, he refused to allow this to consume his life and began to make changes, these changes have led to a him alongside business partner Danny Webster, forming a world class fast growing app technology company Expert Apps he worked hard on repairing the damage to his relationship and moved back to the family home to rebuild his life. Featured in Forbes magazine, and business press Darren has demonstrated a true resilience to challenges. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Darren is a strong innovator, his teams refer to him as having Elon Musk syndrome, he only needs to sniff a problem and he will find a solution. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HVAE INSPIRED OTHERS? Darren has inspired thousands across the globe with his sheer determination but all through his journey he has always supported, respected and encouraged others. He has such a warm heart and is always putting people before himself. He has very strong values and this beams from him. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Darren has a process he calls ‘in flow’ sometimes you see him with his head down and he is focused on a particular task. With company growth of this magnitude he is often under some form of pressure, however when asked this question he will tell you that it is understanding of the importance of sharing the challenged, with his immediate family, i.e his wife, Danny his business partner, or his mentors & coaches.
EARNEST KOUASSI, entrepreneur I am ambitious, hard working and strive for nothing other than greatness. At the young age of 18, I became a successful self-made entrepreneur. But with life, success comes with many inevitable difficulties. I have overcome obstacles such as; self-doubt, fear, depression and a huge amount of rejection that has led me to being homeless which ultimately led me to experience living in my car and having sleepless nights. From being homeless to now being the founder of many companies and a charity (The Ernest Foundation) and having had the privilege to be able to invest in a number of business startups. As well as being a public speaker who talks on various topics such as technology startups, corporate innovation and the future. And who is equally interested in Personal Finance, Self-Help Authoring, Sales Marketing, mental health and entrepreneurship. I run workshops for people like myself who are suffering from depression, I also do one on one mentoring for the youths in my community to inspire them to reach their goals and not letting anyone or anything get in the way. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE: Overcoming depression and writing a book about it. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS? From being homeless to now being the founder of many companies and a charity (The Ernest Foundation) and having had the privilege to be able to invest in a number of business startups. As well as being a Public Speaker who talks on various topics such as technology startups, corporate innovation and the future. And who is equally interested in Personal Finance, Self-Help Authoring, Sales Marketing, mental health and entrepreneurship. I run workshops for people like myself who are suffering from depression, I also do one on one mentoring for the youths in my community to inspire them to reach their goals and not letting anyone or anything get in the way.I love to share my journey and what I've learned with others. My mission is to mentor others, and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to go after their dreams, I also believe in collaboration, community work, networking, and choosing to overcome fear and negative thinking. If you're hungry, determined, and driven to be a game-changer, the path is yours to define. Your passion is unique to you and only you can create what you're dreaming of and actually accomplish it in the way that you desire. If you feed your focus, anything is possible, and my story is a testament to that. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE: My emotional problems subside when I'm working, When I'm working on a project, I shut my emotional depressions to the side for a while, and it's not until I'm done with the project. That my problems begin to creep back up. i tend to stay working on new projects or things that motivate me, i keep my eye on the bigger goal and picture so i dont get side track
DANIEL J MILLER, founder of womenswear brand Just to Say London I started my career fresh out of university, in New York City, in PR, I also had the fantastic opportunity of studying Politics and Entrepreneurship at Miami University, in the United States.During my time in PR I was lucky to have worked as an Account Manager for some of the big-name fashion houses around the world before starting my career in sales, also in the fashion industry, as Head of Sales for a well-known young UK brand so I developed an all round knowledge of the industry. But I knew I wanted to work for myselfIt was this desire and a leap of faith that I decided to take the plunge and start my own brand, Just To Say… London.Just To Say... London embodies a woman that is self-confident and not afraid to shine. We make bold, statement and party dresses, with detailing. For women of all ages, who like to dress up! To be worn for any occasion or event, day and night. We are inspired by the most powerful, sexy, feminine, and glamorous women of the world; those who live the cosmopolitan city life. My whole ethos for the company is work with people who share the same positive vision, I am all about empowering people and making the feel part of the family. People are far more productive and motivated when you treat them with kindness and they feel part of a team and I am not afraid to take risks and step out of my comfort zone.
CRAIG BROWN, owner of Rage Fitness Rage Fitness started in September 2018. The business was created as I was made redundant and within my local area there was unhealthy habits, young and old. We started with 2 fitness classes a week and about 2 clients. Fast forward to July 2019. We have over 1500 clients, 13/ 14 unique programmes ranging from social prescribing, prevention, education, school sessions and many more. We work across the North West to tackle social and health issues using fitness as an enabler. We work closely with over 20 partners to tackle hot topics such as knife crime, drug and antisocial behavior. We have developed rapidly over the last 10 months and in September 2019 we will be opening a brand new Rage Fitness Gym. We will have drop in centre to support mental and emotional health centre, child service sessions and a host of seasonal events to support a community to live a happy healthier lifestyle. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS We feel we have inspired a whole host of demographics. We have inspired a generation from 5 to 12 yrs to think differently on exercise and nutrition. We have support a demographic who was being bullied and influenced them think: Use their size for power, use their disadvantage as an advantage, we have inspired a demographic who have never exercised or thought about health to be health conscious and support their family in healthy nutritional, active decision. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Think of the bigger picture. Who are we here to help? Who are we here to support? This realigns my focus and helps see a clearer path.
SIOBHAN THOMAS, fashion designer .My desire is to be an inspiration to other women to follow their dreams. We live in a society where women are belittled and pushed down and I want to show people around me that regardless of circumstance or situations you can be a woman with purpose and influence as well as integrity. My passion is fashion designing and has been for several years, I believe it’s a gift that has been imparted and when I design it comes from the heart. It has taken a lot of faith and confidence to start my own company and I am finally living my dream. I have had many ups and equally downs but I would not want to let that dictate how I spend the rest of my life. Women are important, they are special and precious, I love working with people and especially when my clients come to me very timid to begin with and leave thriving with confidence. My Mum is one of my greatest inspirations, I have seen her sacrifice, time and time again for the benefit of her children. She has always believed in me and encouraged me to go for my dreams. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Passion, love and a drive to succeed. I adore what I do and love making women feel and look beautiful through the service I provide. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS It’s my outlook on life and bubbly personality. That I’m not afraid to take chances and move in the direction of my dreams. I have a care and a lot of determination. A lady just the other day said to me these words, ‘As we let our own light shine , we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same’. She said that I am the product of this and others around me feel confident enough to follow their dreams as they watch me follow mine. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I stay positive, I don’t let failures get in the way or deter me from reaching y goal. And I remember the reason why I’m doing it in the first place and I use that to press forward. I see failures as lessons learned, and an opportunity to grow even more.
ANDREW JOSEPH MANION, hairstylist My journey started 16 years ago at the age of 21 when I retrained as a hairstylist. Once I was qualified I travelled around France working as a stylist and a holiday rep. At 25 I moved back to Liverpool and then began to build my client base by doing mobile female hairdressing on a scooter and working in a barber shop during the day. In 2012 I was too busy doing mobile so I rented a room within a beauty business with £500. From there we moved after 12 months to our first salon in Old Swan, since then we have moved twice due to needing a bigger salon.Heading the creative hair team at Liverpool Fashion Week and winning numerous awards, the latest being Englands Local salon of the year 2019. We now have 8 chairs and a treatment room providing holistic treatments and beauty and 6 staff. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I think it is my positive attitude and my laugh. It's infectious. HOW HAVE YOU INSPIRE OTHERS? I have inspired others, I think by showing you can reach your goals with enough determination and hard work. One of my clients started uni again after seeing me go and do my degree. HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED? I get out into nature and mountain walk and plenty of sleep.
KATIE-JANE CROSBIE, Sleeptight Maternity business owner I am also known as The International Baby Whisperer), I am a Maternity Nurse Birth to 3mths, A breastfeeding specialist, a Behaviour Specialist but the unique side of my business is my Baby & Infant Sleep Consultancy. I have clients contact me from all works of like, hitting that brick wall, emotionally on the floor, sleep-deprived, relationship/marriage often on the rocks and most have not slept in the same bed for many months and in some cases years. I started my business over 25 years ago, now I am renowned for my services, nationally and internationally especially my Sleep-training service. My clients do say 'I change their lives'. Sleep is the best gift you can bring to any family, sleep deprivation affects the whole family, it can have an impact on the parents working life, the families physical and mental health, appetites, and general wellbeing. Five years ago I wrote my unique sleep-training programme, I had spent 20+ years at the time being contracted in by very affluent clients or high profile clients to implement my proven 4 day sleep-training method, this involves living in for 96 hours and upon leaving their child or children (I specialise in Multiples) sleeping beautifully 11-11.5hrs of a night along with their naps (age-relevant whether 1 or 2) each day, the amount of relationships that have also been strengthened again by bringing sleep to a family, absolutely is only a small part of why I am blessed with my profession. It has not always been an easy journey, 9 years ago my world was turned upside down overnight when I received an email telling me about events that had happened 6 years before, this email led me to leave my husband that weekend, heartbroken and in disbelief, the main priority was to bring my children through the break up of their parents, mentally balanced. I became the sole financial provider for the children, I cut back on my work to ensure I had a good balance on being home more. It was tough, really tough, I always kept a brave face, never let the children know that at times we were financially on the floor. My children are now in their teens, we have such a strong special relationship as those hard times we came through together, it made me the strong persistent person I am today. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HVAE INSPIRED OTHERS , I empower them and most of all give them the knowledge and guidance to move forward with confidence and to enjoy their children, after all, its why we have children isn't it! WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE My children remind me every day I am doing it for them, all for them, through my strength and positivity they too are growing up strong, positive individuals, they are what they are shown at the end of the day.
GEORGINA TANG, Yours Naturally, Naturally Yours skincare owner In December 2011, I made a life changing decision after attending a free bath bomb & soap making course . This had inspired me to look for courses to expand my knowledge in this area and also l started learning to make natural skin care products as a hobby.A couple of years later, my son, Alessio started to receive chemotherapy for his Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. After the chemotherapy started, he developed skin problems, which were exacerbated by the treatment. Consequently, I decided to make natural “skin kind” products to minimise the skin problems. I made different types of body butters and massage oils to relieve the skin problems with success, so much so that Alessio was discharged from the Dermatology department. The consultant said she will be sending me her patients in the future as she was amazed by the power of natural products on some medical conditions! The chemotherapy also caused hair loss and skin to be hypersensitive. Coincidently, my neighbour had just finished chemotherapy for her breast cancer. Therefore, she was desperately looking for a neutral pH shampoo as advised by the medical professionals. I said I could make one if she could provide me some information and she did. After reading the “My new hair” booklet produced by a national charity which provides information, advice and support for people experiencing medical hair loss; I created an ultra-mild shampoo and conditioner to encourage the development of healthy hair Essentially this was only meant to be a hobby making products on the kitchen table, It has now turned into a business providing employment to several local people and all our products are handmade in Liverpool. I took a major gamble leaving a secure well paid job to focus on a business which was losing money in December 2015. A business that I believe would create sufficient funds to provide the future care costs for Alessio when I am not around. Not only does Alessio has complex medical needs, he also has severe Autism and Learning Difficulties, so he requires 24/7 hours support. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Positive thinker, passionate, caring, determined, ability to think outside the box, ability to work under pressure, great time organiser and never give up on what I believe in! HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I believe I inspired others by proving that anyone can start a business from scratch in their 50s. In fact, anyone can start a new business at any age, as long as she knows what she is trying to achieve. It’s all about mind set. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. What’s more, I hope that I have inspired carers with additional needs children that they can have a successful career and care for their loved ones too. It’s just a matter of juggling time and making sacrifices to make it work; being your own boss definitely help as you can manage your time more flexibly. For me, without a doubt, I would struggle to hold down a full time job and care for Alessio who is ill on a fairly regular basis. What’s more, it’s so much easier having the factory/office in the back garden. I would say having a child with additional needs has not hindered my career but rather helped me to focus on finding a career that would allow me to work flexibly. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I focus on why I am doing it and stick to it, which is to provide a brighter future for Alessio. I get strength just by seeing Alessio little smiley face and know it’s all worth it. It is a cut throat business in the cosmetic manufacturing industry, so I always have to plan ahead and continue to expand and diversify. I do it with a smile because I love what I do!!
ASTRID SMITH Astrid is only 10 and from Southport. Being the youngest Jazz singer in the UK and spending so much time performing around the North West, mostly for charity events, any spare time she has she busks in Liverpool for the homeless charity, the White Chapel Centre. She has raised over £200 doing this. This Summer she is busking for a little boy called William who has Duchenne disease, which is a life limiting disease. Astrid has performed at all of his fundraising events and this summer all her busking proceeds will go to Save William. so his family can make wonderful memories. She started last week and raised funds for him and will do it as much as she can throughout the Summer, as well as performing at his birthday festival in August! She has also performed at numerous charity events and campaigned for including Run for Rhys, Jamie Bulger Kidsfest, Teenage Cancer Trust, Clatterbridge Charity, Alder Hey, Roar for Jess, Children In Need and NSPCC... just some of them! Despite being bullied in her old school because of her singing, and having to move school, she doesn’t let it get on top of her and instead of crumbling she wrote a song called The Little Jazz Singer that sends out the message that being different isn’t wrong and is to be celebrated! Astrid’s dad had a stroke just before Christmas and she was such a support to him. He used to read to her every night, but after the stroke, he couldn’t read, so now she reads to him every night and has helped him to read again. She is the most inspirational young child that needs some sort of recognition for her selfless acts and talent!
KATIE WRIGHT (written by mum,Rena) My daughter Katie Wright has Downs Syndrome and is known all our the country for her positivity and happy outlook on life. Katie’s smile literally lights up any room, and is so infectious your heart melts when you see her smile! Katie has been fighting leukaemia for the past 5 years and during this time, every single day she has always tried to see the positive things each new day could bring, no matter how hard the challenges were she faced through her daily treatment. Katie has a facebook page called @saveourkatie, please take a look so you can have your heart warmed with her gorgeous happy smile. I really would like to nominate Katie for the ‘happy award’ in recognition of her beautiful smile and her unbelievably positive outlook on life no matter what the circumstances, plus the inspiration that Katie has brought to so many others who have read her story. It took Katie till she was nine years old before she reached her milestones enough to meet the normal expectations of her peers and be accepted in her own right. Then two years later, when she was 11 years old she was diagnosed with leukemia, she had 95% in her little body and the consultants had a massive fight on their hands to keep her alive. Katie spent 3 months attached to tubes to keep her alive and though the odds were against her, her spirit fought through. Katie spent 8 months as an inpatient in hospital fighting for her life under every department of Alder Hey, all consultants pulling together to make this happen. during all this time Katie always tried to remain so positive even through all the darkness, she was unable to eat or drink for a year , but always insisted everyone around her ate, and this gave her so much happiness to see others happy. Katie completed her treatment in 2016, but she relapsed and her consultant told us she could not be saved, as she would not be able to cope with a relapse treatment plan as it was too strong for her little body to cope with, so we would have to prepare ourselves to lose our beautiful girl. At this point our friend set up a go fund me page to raise money to send Katie to Seattle for immunotherapy which possibly could save Katie’s life. Everyone was so amazing raising as much as they could for the life saving treatment , which would cost at least £360,000 dollars. We were broken as a family , but katie keep our spirits up still fighting so hard through her daily unbelievable pain. Katie’s consultant put her on the lowest treatment plan in the hope of reducing the cancer to buy her some time. To everyone’s disbelief Katie stunned everyone and went into remission and also relentlessly completed her daily treatment plan over the next two and a half years. I think the most important lesson for us all from this is this beautiful girl who has endured pain every day for five years , never gave up the fight, smiles every day, saw the positivity of life , wherever she could, and taught us all how to appreciate every little thing in life.
NATALIE SCULLY, deputy manager at The Armed Forced Veterans A high proportion of our residents have come into Speke House from homeless situations and in some cases, from prison, their needs are very particular, vary immensely and of course every individual believes their needs are more important than the next man. The majority of the residents have or have had some form of mental health issue whether it be PTSD or some form of substance abuse. With the experience I have gained I am able to signpost individuals to the support services they may need to help them. It's not always an easy road and it does take great patience to help certain individuals to the right road to recovery. The most rewarding part of my role within Speke House is to try and nurture some self-esteem within the residents. The variety of mental health problems in Speke House go hand-in-hand with the feeling of isolation, loneliness and lack of hope. One of my main tasks to to promote togetherness, team bonding and connectivity between the residents. To that end and within a specified budget I organise a plethora of activities which allows the residents to get out and about, get to know each other outside of the confines of Speke House and ultimately feel increased self esteem and self confidence. Examples of indoor and outdoor activities that I have organised and actively been part of include - Accredited Level 2 cooking courses with Bay Tree Cooking Academy; working a local allotment growing vegetables; days out to play golf; go fishing and experience narrowboating (Pride of Sefton) on a local canal; a day at Haydock races, a day out to explore Blackpool and a visit to walk Snowdon to name but a few. Other in-house activities that are more regular include bingo, buffets, coffee mornings and BBQ's. All of these activities inspire the residents to be able to choose between the various experiences and with their new found self esteem branch out and find new hobbies to keep them active and involved. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? Patience. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? The main tactic I try to use to keep me focussed under pressure within my work environment is to remember the success stories I have been party to. It gives me great satisfaction to be part of their success story. One particular individual who I will simply call 'G' arrived at Speke House having served a short prison sentence at HMP Norwich. It was evident that G had a problem with his binge drinking, felt isolated, lonely and somewhat depressed. Being a southerner G had no family close-by and had lost touch with his children. Over time and by utilising the support services signposted to him and actively engaging in the organised activities G soon regained a lot of his self esteem and over time managed to find and hold down a good local job, find a supportive and understanding girlfriend and is also back in regular contact with his two boys. He is currently liaising with South Liverpool Homes as he now openly admits that he is feeling mentally strong enough for his next big step.
NICK COLLIER At 18yrs old I crushed two vertebrae in my back. I was told I would never become a soldier as I'd dreamed - At the age of 23 after never ever giving up I became a Royal Marines Commando. After a tour of Iraq and them coming out i struggled, I was destructive to those around me. I ended up living in my car with a wife and child who understandably needed me gone. I was rock bottom, but the will and fire I had kept me going, I won my wife back and now own a business in the Metquarter that employs six people. Everyday in buisness is a new fight but at the age of 41 now I am equipped to cope. I am strong and positive. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE Positive, glass always half full. I'm also kind. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I hope I have made younger people who have worked for me to never give up on their dreams. It's so easily said but you must do it. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE By remembering how lucky I actually am compared to other people I saw in the world during my time as a soldier.
ANGELICA FENNEY, plus size model with Models of Diversity Angelica was first diagnosed with breast cancer as a teenager in 1995 and has since endured gruelling treatment for four other areas of her body. She has now been officially free of any form of the disease for the last ten months and said she was so pleased but scared at the same time. She said she pinches herself like is this for real? As for the last 24 years it has always found a way back. Angelica was so sure she would die when cancer first struck that she married at 18. She survived- but the marriage ended in divorce and she went on to have cancer of the bowel, cervix, skin and vagina. During her long battle she has undergone radiotherapy, chemo, a hysterectomy, nipple removal and been fitted with a colostomy bag. She then suffered another devastating blow whiles undergoing treatment for bowel cancer, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and although they was helping one another to fight the disease together, her father William sadly lost he's battle and died in 2017. This spurred Angelica on to fight with every ounce of her being to beat the dreaded C not just for herself but for her father too! WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE. My strength & sheer determination never to give up along with my passion in helping other. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS. I am an ordinary individual, who find the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, by comforting, encouraging helping other, weather it be through my charity work, or just being there for other. Which shows people that what ever life throws at them. never give up hope. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE. When I was a small child, my grandmother was very sick, she had to have both her legs amputated along with having a colostomy bag fitted. The day she come back from surgery, I was by her bedside heart broken with tears rolling down my face and my grandmother just open her eyes, grab hold of my hand to comfort me and said: 'hey love, never mind there is always someone worse of then me'. Them words have got me through all my challenges in life.
AIDEN WILLIAMS Aiden, 11, has a diagnosis of Autism and ADHD, amongst other physical health conditions. Every day is a battle for Aiden but he faces his barriers with humour and determination. Aiden has had the most extraordinary year, he has overcome so much! After suffering years of bullying leaving him in a very dark place, he has moved schools which is a massive change to him as he hates change. This was a hard transition for Aiden but he got up every day and faced the challenges setting into a new school brings especially for a child with autism. He has settled into his new school environment and finally has teachers that understand and support him. He has made a small group of friends who like him for being him! His confidence is soaring, He has a much better understanding of his emotions and how to control and most importantly he now has self worth and knows that no one has the right to bully him ever again ❤️
MARIE MCCOURT I am the mother of Helen McCourt who was murdered by Ian Simms in February 1988. Despite being convicted on overwhelming forensic and circumstantial evidence he has continued to refuse to say where my daughter’s body is located.Following several years of searching with my family for Helen, I joined the group Support after Murder and Manslaughter Merseyside. I became a volunteer here supporting and advising families in a similar position and helping them through their personal loss. I delivered this support through group session, individual meetings, 24 Hour telephone helpline or home visits. With this contact I was able to assess the need of the beneficiaries and if we were not able to help them directly arrange contact with various agencies/organisation that we had built a relationship with.As the group developed we did presentations to these agencies including Coroners, Police Liaison Officers, Crown Prosecution and Probation Service. With a serving Officer we developed the first sessions for Liaison Officers, which did not exist at that time, and these are now part of the national training package. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE?Having become the mother of a murder victim I saw at first hand from my own experience, and with meeting numerous other families, the deficiencies in support and advice for victim’s families. With the assistance of other volunteers we regularly brought these to the notice of the agencies who over the years have improved the perspective of victims’ families and there is now a huge improvement in the help and recognition that they receive. I also used an opportunity to highlight these problems whenever I was in the media, because of the circumstances of Helens case, and also with the Government when I have met Ministers or being part of meetings that have fed into Government thinking and eventual change. Over the last three and a half years I have led a campaign called Helens Law asking for change so that murderers who have applied for Parole but still refuse to say where their victims remains are should not be eligible for release until they do. This entailed an on line petition which gained over 600,000 supporters, meetings with Ministers, online enquiries for other families who are in the same situation, presentations and public events to raise awareness of the campaign. This campaign has had a positive outcome as the Government have accepted that there IS a need for the Law and it will be placed on the statute book in due course. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS . Until I became a victim’s mother I would never have considered speaking and campaigning for the wrongs that I saw. I gained a strength and voice that I did not realise that I had. This was used through my support work where families could see that you can move forward after their tragic loss and rebuild their lives. This is despite my personal circumstances they could see that there is a future which they probably could not see themselves. My campaigning for Helen’s Law has illustrated that an ordinary mum can make a change in the law of the land. I started the campaign when Simms was due to be moved to an open prison and possible release. Even though there are guidelines for the Parole Board on release of these killers it was not in law that their refusal to reveal the location of victim’s remains and this was not right. During this I found over fifty other families whose loved ones bodies have not been found and with the increase of the efficiency in DNA evidence this number is increasing. I hope that when people see or hear me they realise that determination and a personal crusade to improve the rights of victim’s families that they can do something similar with continued determination, effort and publicising the need for change. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Over the twenty five years that I have been assisting victims’ families, as I have mentioned, their needs have kept me focused even when under pressure. On days when I may have thought ‘why’ I would consider the needs of perhaps a particular family or a general enquiry of victims needs and the thought that this is helping them to cope with their loss and adjust to their new ‘lives’ is worth the time and effort involved in helping and supporting them.
JENNIFER BARNFIELD I once found myself, in this world, lost and confused, struggling to make sense of why sad and upsetting situations happen. Struggling to understand how it is even beneficial to live amongst the most hurtful and upsetting people and experience traumatic times many of us go through in life. I had previously found total and complete passion in figure skating. Figure skating is like breathing to me. Total freedom. Imagine flying high, through the air, like an eagle on a strong breeze, lifting, twirling, gliding along – that is how figure skating feels to me. I feel like no one can catch me and pull me down, no one can trip me up and I am a free spirit able to do anything. I had trained and competed in figure skating since the age of 3 and upon becoming the British, Welsh, Scottish and British Adult (over21) Champion and an International silver medallist I felt complete exhilaration. Little did I know that the ability my mind had developed in finding positive avenues, creating an empowered environment and using the constant confidence I found myself developing, would become a way of life and I would become the person I am today. I have accumulated a lifetime of experience from my rollercoaster childhood, being a homeless teenager, a teenage parent, domestic violence, becoming a multiple national figure skating champion and international silver medallist, featuring in a global commercial, teaching various celebrities to skate for Dancing-On-Ice, being diagnosed with PTSD and relocating from England to Wales, rebuilding not only my life but also my business and having to start again. The PEPP Method is the product, the end result, of how I overcame all of this using Positivity, Empowerment, Power and Productivity to rebuild, overcome negative upsetting events and train other people’s mindsets to be razor sharp, flick-switching and help find that inner power and confidence confident against the pessimistic, negative occurrences in life. This method is everything I created having gone through my experiences and it now forms the basis of an incredible mindset which in its basic, yet most important ability controls our thoughts, words and actions. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE I can inspire others when I speak. I am able to help them to understand and see that no matter what they have or are going through, there are many people out there able to support, and I am one. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS I teach people about the PEPP method; how to improve positivity, empowerment, power and productivity with passion and confidence. Positivity and happiness go hand in hand. It’s important for young people to know that life is not a race, and you can’t chase happiness. If you learn how to control your feelings in a positive way, happiness will come. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE Since moving to South Wales and bringing home a beautiful Welsh Collie, I find walks are a perfect distraction and allow me to re-focus when I get back to my home-office. Even trips to the beach after school pick helps me to remain grounded. I also find setting clear, obtainable goals keep me focused. I am in the process of writing a book on The PEPP Method and have a daily word limit count firmly fixed in my daily plan. At present I set myself small incentives, i.e. the next 1000 words and I’ll have a cuppa, or a Gin if it’s a really thought provoking topic and this allows me to keep on track. What also keeps me focussed is that my 5 year old daughter is currently on summer holidays and observes my working ability. This shines through in her desire to be focused and stay on task.
EMMA CRANSTON After suffering years of domestic violence she nearly died last year due to her ex partner severely beating her. She had to have her rib cage rebuilt she had a punctured lung and they were waiting for her to have a heart attack. She came through it and got her partner arrested and he’s now in prison. Dieting her recovery which is still on going she made a domestic abuse Facebook page which currently stands at over 140,000 followers from all over the world. She is currently in 76 countries. She has helped countless people get to safety from the uk to Arizona. She works constantly to help people every day using her own experiences. She is currently working with the council building training manuals to train authorities and school, colleges and universities to help raise awareness and teach people about healthy relationships. She feels strongly about teaching people the signs of abuse from an early age like they do regarding sexual health etc because once your already in the relationship it’s often to late to realise it’s abuse. She is helping , supporting and encouraging men and woman every day to speak up about there abuse and helps when they leave helps them to safety. Her page is currently awaiting charity status so she will then open support groups all over the world.
MAYIA MCMONAGLE This young girl is one.of the most positive people I know. She is 15years old and has been.building her own sustainable.fashion brand since she was ten. She has been in vogue, at nyfw, won.awards and been a finalist twice for environmental awareness with the chamber of commerce. In 2013 she opened her own studio and.made everything in it from recycled andnreclaimed materials. She gave a platform for other up and coming designers to showcase their designs taking some to NYFW with her. She did all of this while dealing with her mum going through diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. Today she is an Ambassador in Ireland for a global.organisation lead by young people to create awareness about climate change. Her "How.to guide" has been rolled out to over 20.000 schools in America and will be part.of an app launched.later this year. She does all this while taking life in her stride and with the most postive attitude I have ever seen... I think she deserves recognition for being such a guiding light and inspiration to so many.. especially as she does so much with so little
PAUL DENNY Paul was diagnosed of Melanoma Skin Cancer in 1992. Aged 17 at the time he was given a 5% chance of survival and less than one year to live. Despite the odds Paul was determined to beat his cancer and In 2000 went on to do his nurse training in 2003 he qualified as a registered nurse and became a dad for the first time in 2005. Paul has raised a significant amount of money for various cancer charities Childrens Cancer Support Group (CHICS) is just one of these Paul is currently in his second term as a public governor of AlderHey Hospital (which is voluntary) besides him holding down a full time job at Spire Hospital Liverpool At the begining of 2019 Paul celebrated his 25th year of being clear of cancer and has since become a volunteer speaker for teenage cancer trust
ANTHEA THOMAS I'm originally from London, my family and school friends are all still based down there but after escaping a violent abusive relationship I left London at just 20 on my own and moved to the North West. What I didn't realise is that I was on the road to my first mental breakdown. I have suffered with my mental health most of my life. At the age of 5 my dad left us and since then I have being silently battling with low self esteem, fear of rejection, depression and self limiting beliefs around money. My mother raised us singlehandedly however we lived in deep poverty, some days we didn't have anything to eat and I watched my mum struggle with that. She always used to say money only goes to the rich and I believed that for most of my life. At 25 I suffered a mental breakdown due to never dealing with issues from my past and lost my job. Whilst I was ill I didn't leave my house for 6 months, I was under daily supervision from the crisis team and piled on loads of weight. I got through that with counselling and medication and eventually met the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. At 33 we had our daughter, her birth was very traumatic as I suffered multiple organ failure which meant I was unable to even pick her up for over a week. My partner was by my side the whole time and I trusted him implicitly so when he proposed to me 4 years later I was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. 5 days before our perfect wedding, I found out he was cheating on me. He cancelled the wedding, made me and our daughter leave the house and completely shattered my heart. He even called the police on me because I was begging him to talk to me, he said I was crazy. My daughter still remembers the police coming and taking her to her room, she thought I was going to jail. In one day I lost my partner and home. I suffered my second mental breakdown and tried to end my life. My friends and family were amazing and they helped me get back on track, then the following year I lost my job. In the space of 8 months I had lost just about everything. This time though I was determined not to fall down again.
In August 2016 after losing my job I started my own business. I have been self employed ever since and absolutely love it. In 2017 I was able to take my daughter to America for 3 and half weeks with 10 amazing days in Walt Disney World. I am determined she doesn't have a childhood like mine and I wanted to make my mum proud because she has raised a fighter. Fast forward to now and I still suffer with my mental health, it raised it's ugly head again in the later part of 2017 when I was told I was starting to go into menopause. At just 41 I'm on HRT and have had to come to terms with the fact I will never have another child. However I didn't let my depression get the better of me, I asked for help and practised the techniques I've learnt over the years to channel the negative thoughts into something positive. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE My greatest attribute is my compassion for others. I always look for the good in others. My inner strength...sometimes I amaze myself at what I have gotten through. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HVAE INSPIRED OTHERS I think my honesty about my struggles and my strength to keep going even when I have wanted to give up inspires others. Life will always throw obstacles in your way but it's how you deal with them that defines you, not the obstacles. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE I journal and work through my affirmations however my biggest tool is my desire to give myself and my daughter the best life possible. When her dad left me, it projected me back to my own childhood and I vowed I would do everything in my power to give her the best life possible. To do my very best to help her grow into a strong independent young woman who doesn't feel like she was abandoned.
BERNADETTE McDONALD, director of BMD law "My name is Bernadette and I am a …… " For many years all that I wanted was to be a solicitor. I wanted to introduce myself as a solicitor. I came from a traditional working class background. My parents had not gone to University. My school careers team did not support my ‘lofty ambitions’ to be a solicitor. But I had spent years gazing longingly at the glamour and excitement of LA Law and I was determined. I dropped out of sixth form and enrolled in college taking a levels whilst working. I then applied for university but had to do so whilst working full time so my law degree took 4 years and post graduate degree 2 years. By the time I come to find a training contract I was a mature student but one with six years of legal experience with me. I secured a contract in Manchester and the usual two year contract to be able to qualify as a solicitor was shortened to just shy of 12 months. One qualified I quickly climbed the ranks and became head of department and deputized for the training partner in relation to the pastoral care and allocation of the firms 12 trainees. After 2 years I left to start my own firm in Wavertree. My ethos for the firm was always simple. To serve the local community in a way that at the time was quick unique – I removed the formality that is usually found with legal professionals and treated people as people. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly I strove to give opportunities to aspiring lawyers who did not have access either to training or work experience. I am very proud to say that my office has a revolving door of young people who have had their first taste of legal practice. I smile when I see how that first step has propelled them in their careers enabling them to obtain degrees, vocational qualifications and permanent positions. I was thus inspired to help support people in achieving their dreams in having their own business and my own premises have housed several new start companies who with the support of me as their inhouse solicitor have been able to take root and grow. This includes other lawyers, estate agents and mortgage brokers. In order to help more people achieve their dreams I undertook an MBA whilst continuing to run my own law firm. This led to my lecturing property law, commercial property law and land law in a university and private legal training company. I graduated with a MBA with distinction and a scholarship to research the current form of clinical legal education. I hope this enables me to help more aspiring lawyers in the future. As well as running a law firm I have also acted as vice chair of a PTA, member of Wavertree Conservation society, started and developed a local business networking group and supported local charities. I have also started a professional development training company to help support local business. When people ask me what my motivation is my answer is always simple – I want to help people become the best that the can and overcome any obstacles in doing so. I hope that my hard work and determination inspires my three children. When people now ask me who I am and what I do the answer isn’t quite as simple My name is Bernadette and I am a solicitor/business owner/mother/lecturer/ trainer/business development supporter/researcher ……… WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I believe that we have no boundaries other than what we imagine. I like to help support people as they unlock their own potential. Whether that is by giving them logistical support or opportunity or by simply helping them shake off their self-limiting beliefs. If I can do it, anyone can HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS? I don’t know if I do. If anything I help people inspire themselves HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? Some may think I juggle a lot but I see that as development. If I can develop myself I can help other people develop themselves. This year I have been lucky enough to travel to give presentations on my research. That was a new kind of pressure but I focused on my belief that my research can help people.
JULIE MORRISON On the 7th July 2003 I was going in for a routine scan. I was going in every week due to concerns with the growth. Nothing to worry about they said. I was 37 weeks pregnant and all I remember that day is everything began to slow down. The lady doing the scan went for a Second opinion. At that point I realised my baby girl grew her angel wings. 2 days later she was born, Erin Elizabeth Morrison. Years went by where I had 3 other good pregnancies. Then BBC news were running a story of baby ashes been lost or no trace at mortonhall in Edinburgh. During my daughters cremation I was told that we probably wouldn’t get any ashes. I set a group up with other parents in Glasgow and after 2 years with an independent enquiry I got a call in February 2016 to say that Erins ashes had been found in a funeral directors. To be told that my daughters ashes had been found on a shelf after 13 years made me physically sick. This should have broke me but I had to keep going for my daughter and thought of the best way to set up a charity in memory of her. Looking back after we cremated erin I looked at the what made my Husband and I so strong after all these years. Luckily we had some money set aside and went on a Holiday. Did it help? Well we think it did. It gave us the time away from family and time for me and my Husband to talk. This is where we set up Baby Loss Retreat where we give parents who have lost a child a couple of days respite to reflect, talk and try to move on. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? The will to keep going and expand the charity to all over the country so that every parent gets the opportunity to get a few days away. My Charity is purely done on fundraising and I aim to have at least 1 fundraiser a month from January to October. So far the Charity has raised over £20,000 and we have given over 20 parents respite in the past 18 months. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE PEOPLE? By getting in contact with them or when they contact me to my upmost to ensure they get the respite if needed. But that’s not where I stop. I constantly talk to the mothers and my Husband talks to the fathers to ensure they are coping. I also hold a live lunch every 6 months where all the parents who have had a loss get together and talk to each other about there loss. HOW DO YOU REMAIN FOCUSED? I run my own cleaning business and My Husband is a manager in a shopping Centre. We also have 3 children which takes up a lot of time. With this my main time for the charity is evenings and weekends. But as said before I wouldn’t have it any other way and although it can be stressful the satisfaction in the end makes it all worthwhile
LYNN ROBINSON, medium and best selling author WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTE? I truly care, and I can help others to see how amazing they are. I listen and teach a better way of living your life, pushing anxiety and panic to the back and seeing the true picture up in front of you.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HVAE INSPIRED OTHERS? I have many clients who would talk to you forever of their torment in many areas of their lives, I have clients from the age of 2 to 82 and they are all inspired by my passion to help, this inspires them to look at their own lives and to believe that they are not alone
WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED UNDER PRESSURE? I have a team of angels and guides behind me they keep me focused and they keep me balanced. A few of my groups have said that you won’t put me forward for this award because I am known as a medium, but they said that because I don’t shout it from the highest hilltops my work as a healer isn’t widely known it is just in the private of my work room, many are willing to step forward and tell their story now and this to me is a great achievement . I am also an accomplished author of three number 1 best sellers on amazon. My fourth book which is nearly ready to go to press is called the Forgotten children and it is about the darkness of anxiety and what it is doing in society today.