I have decided to retire from ski racing to focus on my career in motivational speaking, youth work and media work.
I shall make my media debut reporting on the struggles many athletes face in retirement, on BBC Midlands Today on Wednesday 21st January 2015, 9 years to the day after becoming paralysed.
I feel honored to have represented GB at the very top level despite considerable challenges. I could not have achieved any of it without my sponsors, fundraisers, friends and family. Thank you to everyone who has made it possible, my success has been a team effort.
I aim to continue to inspire.
Thanks so much
Intense training in New Zealand proved useful for GB as we competed in the World Cups in Thredbo, Australia. Mick Brennan and I both won bronze in the Giant Slalom and I was pleased to take another bronze in Slalom, although couldn’t beat the Americans, this time.
Conditions were trickily soft due to the hot weather and unfortunately the second slalom had to be cancelled. The Australians did well to run any races at all.
Thank you to my sponsors and supporters, particularly to MacuShield UK, Bridgestone, McDonald’s, Strakka Racing and Hackleton Primary School who made this trip possible thanks to sterling fundraising efforts! I couldn’t do it without you.
Both Mick and I are thrilled with our first World Cup medals. The team is now training in Wanaka, New Zealand until the end of September, in preparation for an important season ahead.
Last week, representing the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, I was brought in to inspire a group of young people involved in Stafford National Citizens Service but came away feeling hugely inspired myself!
The group of local 16 and 17 year old school leavers from various different backgrounds, had clearly bonded well on residential at the PGL Centre in Shropshire, and I felt privileged to join in their ‘Home Residential’. During this section of the project, the young people were living away from home together (many for the first time), having to organise group meals, budget, shop and clean in preparation for busy days on the project.
Prior to my visit, a workshop on goal setting had been run by reigning Commonwealth Champion, Louise Hazel, and I’m glad I wasn’t aware I’d be following such a superstar! I ran an interactive workshop focusing on the importance of planning, using my Paralympic experience. We went outside and everyone got involved in a fun multi-activity session using a variety of challenging tasks for the teams to plan and coordinate.
I was hugely impressed with the attitude of the group as a whole. Although the tasks were challenging, everyone got involved and the teamwork was remarkable.
The group is now preparing for their Social Action Projects, where they plan and develop their own initiatives, aiming to make positive impacts in things in the community that matter to them. It is always a pleasure to be involved in the NCS and I can see that these young people have far to go – thank you for involving me.
I met the children and staff of Hackleton Primary School, Northamptonshire last summer when I launched the ‘Be the Best you can Be’ Project for 21st Century Legacy, but I had no idea that they really are the best!
The school decided to secretly raise funds to help cover my training costs but was broken into in March and £350 was stolen. However, the children had taken the be the best you can be message to heart and were determined not to be beaten. They went all out to raise more money and presented me with a check for over £5000 last week!
I was overwhelmed and had to fight back the tears – I have wonderful support since breaking my back 7 years ago but this is something else! I cannot believe their monumental fundraising achievement!
Funds raised will help cover my paralympic ski training costs. I am travelling to New Zealand to train with the British Disabled Ski Team in August and the funds will pay for my flights, accommodation, coaching and race fees.
Backing like this does more than just help pay the costs, it really spurs me on to be the best I can be!
I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Warwick Rotary Club who have sponsored my monoski costing £4700! Your support has enabled me to have world class equipment and will help me to represent Great Britain to the best of my ability on the international circuit and hopefully to qualify and get picked for the GB Paralympic team for the 2014 Sochi Paralympics in Russia.
This seasons’ races start next Friday and Saturday in Snowworld in Landgraaf, Holland, a large indoor snowdome. After that, I will travel with the British Disabled Ski Team to Obergurgl then Pitztal, Austria and Lenk, Switzerland to compete on the Europa Cup circuit in my excellent new kit.
The pressure is on as Paralympic selection will depend on results this December, but training has been going well, I am looking forward to racing, fit and ready to race!
I would also like to thank Stratford upon Avon Rotary Club for their generous donation towards my training. I have now enjoyed speaking to the aforementioned clubs as well as Rotarua Rotary Club, New Zealand and last week I was stopped by a German Rotarian on the pistes! Thank you Rotarians for your interest and support.
Please see the following article from the Warwick Courier: http://www.warwickcourier.co.uk/news/local/anna-inspires-rotary-club-1-4314544
The British Disabled Ski Team was also in Sky Sports News on Monday, here is the link: