Well that was an awesome week!! It’s a privilege to be shortlisted for any award, so to be named a finalist in the Caron Keating Foundation’s Inspirational Mother Awards was really something. It was all the better as the category was for mother and son, so I shared the honour with Oli. As deserving as he is, I never dreamed I could win…
Both my sons are fantastic, but the team at The Stroke Association know Oli for his tireless voluntary work. He’s spoken on the radio, given a presentation at the national conference, helped with medical research and never once complained about the traumas of being a young stroke survivor. I won’t bore you with the factors in my life that the judges felt made me a winner, but needless to say it was a proud moment – and a completely unbelievable one!! Gobsmacked doesn’t even begin to cover it. When I heard the stories of the winners preceding me, I didn’t dream for one second that my story stood up against theirs. Heart breaking tales that truly inspire and made me feel humbled to be in their presence.
The champagne reception was lovely and the Mayfair Hotel does put on an excellent cream tea. We were seated next to Donna Fraser, without doubt the fastest woman I’ve ever met! A four-times Olympian and double World Championship medalist, Donna is now an ambassador for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. She told us she was presenting an award – turned out it was mine! She was so lovely, and I’m hoping she’ll come over this summer to meet Oli. She, too, has an inspiring story to tell.
Mica Paris was another award presenter, I love her soulful voice. Found out on Saturday that her real name is Michelle Wallen – no relation, as far as I know. She sings a lovely, soulful rendition of Summertime, a song which always reminds me of the year I was seventeen and learning to drive. My instructor George sang it through every lesson, probably to keep his stress levels down as I careened all over the place. Hearing it now still takes me back to that summer of college parties and rah-rah skirts.
Thank you for the many Facebook messages of congratulations. Ironic, really, that the charity behind the awards is focused on Breast Cancer, and this was the week of women posting no make-up selfies to raise money for that very cause. The last time I looked, over £8 million had been raised from this one small initiative. Amazing what we women can achieve by hardly trying.
Caron Keating was only 41 when she lost her battle to breast cancer, ten years ago next week. Her mother, Gloria Hunniford, set up the foundation in her name to help Cancer patients and their families. As a result, in a roundabout way, she’s now helped raise awareness of childhood stroke too.
In the words of Mica, Ella, Gershwin and George: “One of these mornings, you’re going to rise up singing. Then you’ll spread your wings… and you’ll take to the sky.” Inspirational people don’t always choose to fly. Sometimes it’s not a choice that places us where we are in life, so the important thing is to make the best of it and enjoy every day. Summertime’s coming – I’m heading towards it! Follow me there? @WeekendWitch.
Incidentally, Tim Vincent read out my citation on Saturday… but I didn’t get a Blue Peter badge!!