So finally, I’ve taken delivery of my new car courtesy of my amazing sponsors. Over the past seven months I haven’t had a great deal to smile about in my recovery from a concussion injury, so this has certainly cheered me up a little.
After my latest car sponsorship finished in April, I decided to go back down the route of my local sponsors supporting me in this way, as they had done previously on my road to Rio 2016. Their support allows me to travel to my training at Bisham Abbey and also to my appearances up and down the country. I cannot thank them enough for their continued support, especially at this difficult time.
My sponsors are at the heart of the local community and support many charities. They give their time willingly and support where ever possible and that is also what they expect from me. I always aim to give back as much as I can, to share my story, especially around my home town of Oldham, which can prove difficult at times due to my training programme down south and the distance between.
Being given the opportunity to represent your county and wear the GB shirt, is one of immense pride. This is a very special journey that needs to be shared to inspire others to follow their dreams. Post London 2012, after winning a bronze medal, I made over 75 appearances to colleges, schools, businesses and events up and down the country, enjoyed a mini road show with the British Heart Foundation, which took me from Cornwall to Teesside and was delighted to be listed in the top ten athletes by UK Sport that had given back to their sport and community.
In the year following our success at the Rio Olympics and winning the gold medal, things went a little crazy and upwards of 100 appearances were made. One of the highlights was in visiting my local schools and seeing the children’s faces light up when they held the medal. It was quite a busy few weeks and visiting 40 schools was quite a challenge, but thoroughly enjoyable.
I have been lucky enough to have found my vocation in life and followed my dream to become an Olympic gold medallist. From this journey my message to others when I present is, create your own dream or aspiration to aim towards and don’t give up on it no matter what challenges you have to overcome to get there. No journey in life is perfect and self belief is so important to keep going and continually push for more. If you always give your all, no-one can ask any more of you and that’s when you can and should be proud of your achievements. So, be creative, enjoy the challenge but most importantly, be true to you!
It is also important that I respect and thank everyone that has supported me on my journey. Along with those who help with my transport, I am also lucky enough to have a sponsor who has designed and continues to manage my website. This is an amazing platform for me to help bring my story to life and a focal point for communicating and information. I also signed with my stick sponsor, Grays, over 9 years ago, when I first became an England and GB hockey player, so there are many people who continue to show their support for me.
I hope I have done my sponsors proud in trying to give my time back, not just to the local community but also around the country. I know I don’t get the opportunity to visit them as often as I would like but they understand how my programme works and support me when I am in training and competition, knowing that I will always put the hard work into inspiring others when time allows.
So it is a very big thank you to all at ZenOffice, Amp Wire, Clive Rainford Homes, Valumail , Happy Creative and Grays for sticking by me and allowing me to follow my dreams. Let’s hope for more success and continue the story onwards to Tokyo 2020.