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When back in March I received a letter in the post to say I’d been nominated and accepted for a community award, my heart skipped a beat. It’s such a lovely feeling to think that someone else appreciates you enough to tell someone else you deserve recognition. To be perfectly honest, this, for me is worth more than an award. The fact that someone else thinks you’ve made a difference is worth so much more than a stranger handing you a piece of paper that says so. 

My intention is not to come across as ungrateful, though I know I’ll probably offend someone with this post. It’s not my intention & I’m truly sorry if that’s the case. Please believe me when I say that if I could do the work that I do without anyone knowing who I was, I genuinely would. As many people will tell you, it was a long time before lots of our group members met me, I never used photos of myself in my profile on the group and I tried to remain somewhat faceless. However, as social media advanced and of course we did more events, naturally people became aware of who I am.

But who am I? I am still figuring that out. Just a mum.

A random mum facing the same dilemmas as everyone else…

Do I work too much, do I work enough? Do I read enough stories, am I cooking the ‘right’ food? I still don’t know the answers to those questions. Do any of us? Also, last week I got tipsy at a brunch and did a back flip out of a taxi.. because i’m an idiot.

Sometimes I get stuff wrong, but I am un-apologetically me & for as long as I live I will remain true to myself. Honesty and integrity are SO important to me and I hate it when I see things in the public eye or on social media which are blatant lies, be that people filtering their lives or celebrities pretending to be something they’re not. It’s all smoke & mirrors. We all do it and I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t found a nice corner of my house & taken a photo or shared something online that was positive but I also know that when I’ve felt a bit crap I’ve laid that out in black & white, when the kids are challenging, I’m honest about that too. 

The reason I’m banging on about all that is because I feel that if I hold all these views so highly in my moral compass, it would be entirely hypocritical of me to pretend that a certain situation was one thing, when it was in fact, quite another. So there you have it, the reason I’m writing this post is to say this. 

I am immensely proud of everything we (and I do mean WE because without the incredible women I’m surrounded by, there would be no fundraising, no kind acts, no events and no support) have achieved. I don’t take it lightly when people tell me that WE have changed their life, be it on that day, for that week or whatever. It’s my soul-food. The thing that makes me tick. Making a difference. Being the change. 

Sometimes humans disappoint… that’s life. I was ‘disappointed’ when we arrived at this awards ceremony to be ignored by all in the room. Not that I believe this was intentional, I just think that’s how it was. I felt unwelcome and awkward. I will admit that it’s not really my thing to be fair, I feel awkward anyway turning up somewhere for the sole purpose of being thanked but I was extremely grateful for the kind words my nominators had extended and I really wanted to be able to thank them for that in return and to have an opportunity to share our causes with the wider community would have been great too. Nevertheless it wasn’t to be, as soon as I awkwardly took my seat & opened the booklet placed on my chair I quickly realised that each page had been thoughtfully dedicated to every award winner, headed with their name & a lovely citation of their work and causes they had worked endlessly for. Except that there was a name that wasn’t there and that was mine. The absence of it was glaring and my heart thumped. I didn’t say anything to my husband or the wonderful lady who attended with us, who had taken such time to submit a nomination in my name, but I just knew. After some speeches a slide appeared on the huge screen with all the winners names on it. As my heart thumped again I turned to my right to notice that those with me had realised too. Had I not been on the aisle I’d have made a run for it at that point, but that wasn’t possible without a scene. 

I can’t recall at what point they announced that they realised they’d missed someone off, probably because I was silently planning my exit… but notice they had. Probably when they gathered all us ‘winners’ for a photo before-hand and thought, ‘hang on a minute, who’s this random blonde rocking up and standing in our picture’. 

Anyway someone had rushed off to print off another certificate and they called my name out, I held my head high and stood on that stage while I accepted an entirely different package to each of the others… a bottle of bubbly that was meant to be for one of the speakers. I wanted to cry and laugh simultaneously. 

Suffice to say, I legged it afterwards to the nearest pub for a G & T with two wonderful people and donated the bubbly to my children’s school fete. 

I appreciate that this is not the worst that can happen in ones’ life and I remain grateful to the amazing people who thought I was worthy of a mention. The other winners at the ceremony are indeed inspirational individuals and if nothing else, I listened to their stories with interest and admiration and they truly were worthy winners.

I have written this only to be honest and transparent, I can’t ignore my embarrassment without acknowledging it (I’m aware of the irony that in publishing this I’m possibly embarrassing myself further) but my intention is not to cause embarrassment or ridicule to others and I know that our community is lucky to have individuals who hold fundraising and charity at the heart of everything they do. 

In the future I would love to see more diversity and equality take centre stage of such an appreciation as I know that by celebrating our entire community, we can achieve much more. 

this is me.


Ps if you’d like to hear about our charity of the year By Your Side, you can do so here.. you can also donate to their amazing cause here & if you’re free this weekend you can come and see us at Ryton Pools for an amazing day, you’ll find all the info here.

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