I was recently delighted to attend and give a speech at the British Lions National Conference in Basingstoke, writes Jemima Browning.
This was a three-day event taking place from the fourth to the sixth. I arrived on the Saturday and was invited to attend the gala dinner.
The three-course dinner included speeches, entertainment in the form of dancing, singing and a DJ. It was a great opportunity to speak to those who I would be seeing the next day.
The Lions is a great association and does so much good work in local communities. I am this year’s Young Ambassador for the 105 (UK) British Lions after winning both the district and national final.
I listened to all the official procedures on the Sunday before I spoke, many of the speakers were reporting on all the work the 105 divisions had done. I sat in awe of all the fantastic targets hit and exceeded and the incredible help they are giving both nationally and internationally.
It then it was my turn. I was asked to speak about my cause and my plans for the future. I spoke all about disability and sport, how I provide opportunity and break down the stigma and perception surrounding disability. The speech was well received by everybody. I am forever grateful to the Lions for helping me continue delivering my projects to improve lives, break down barriers, challenge perceptions and create an inclusive community.
The next stage for me as the British Lions 105 division 2018-19 Young Ambassador is to attend the international final in Skopje, Macedonia in October.
I will also be speaking at the Youth Exchange Camp, making speeches at local Lion events and in February next year I will be supporting the candidates for 2019-20 Young Ambassador.
Also, this weekend the Annual Tadcaster Triathlon took place, hosted by Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool. David Wiseman, former Invictus Games Captain, had a team competing for Help For Heroes.
In addition, Jonathon Grayson and June Kelly swam, cycled and ran their way to raising an incredible £505 (and counting) for Tadcaster Stingrays. We are so pleased, grateful and proud of their fantastic achievements.
The funds raised will help sustain Tadcaster Stingrays. It also can help support the swimmers and their families through the lengthy and expensive classification process which is necessary for them to be able to compete.
This will help provide the swimmers with the same opportunities that people without disabilities have. In the next year I look to enter and classify the swimmers at Stingrays who want to compete in galas.
We are organising an in-house gala for the swimmers to celebrate their achievements through friendly competition.
Overall is was a truly successful weekend. I want to share my favourite quote, which I ended my speech with. I think it resonates with the events of the weekend.
Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics says: “All it takes is willingness to enter the game and believe. Just by playing, you’ll surely win the medal that matters most.”
So, live by this, give people the opportunity to prove themselves. It may take time but at the end of a long run, the rewards are endless for you and the community which you allow yourself to be part of.