Filming the School Games with Olympic Gold Medallist, Jason Gardener
Had a great day filming the regional final of the School Games this week. The star of the show was Olympic gold medallist, Jason Gardener - and what a great inspiration he was! It was wonderful to meet him - such a nice guy! It was also really nice to catch up with Lucy Garner and her mum, Wendy (whom I filmed last year)...lovely family. Anyway, if you need a motivational speaker for your event, I would certainly recommend Jason :)
2nd at Olympic Selection - May 2012
Oh well! I gave it my best shot......so no regrets! I came 2nd in the Olympic trials in Germany this week. For sure there were mistakes, but with 2 years out of the boat and having a baby in my time out too, I can't be that hard on my self :) A HUGE thank you to Louise Donnington...she has coached me since I returned to paddling last October...she has inspired me and believed in me. I'm so pleased I gave it a go and so grateful to Louise for all she did to help me!! I'm also incredibly grateful to my wonderful sponsors, along with my cousin Paul and his family. A big thanks too to my great friend,double Olympic Champion, Elena Kaliska, for inviting me join her for training and of course to my wonderful partner, Mark. Here is are my best bits of the race..
My BBC Olympic Legacy Film about Becky Downie - March 2012
For my latest film for BBC East Midlands Today, I featured Olympic Gymnast Becky Downie. I can honestly say it was one of the most impressive assemblies I have ever seen!! Well done Becky :) Here's the link:
Thanks BMI Baby!! April 2012
Many thanks to BMI Baby for sponsoring myself, Max and Mark with a flight to Germany to spend a week training with my friend - double Olympic champion, Elen Kaliska. It was a brilliant trip and having the flight with all the baggage included was amazing - as travelling with a baby PLUS all my paddling gear is never going to be easy!! The training camp excellent preparation for the Olympic trials..... Thanks again BMI Baby....and Elen :)
Irish Selection - Thanks Stena Line and Palmerstown Lodge - March 31st 2012
A big thank you to Stena Line Ferries for sponsoring us with the ferry crossing for Irish Selection. Thanks also to Gerry at Palmerstown Lodge for the great accomodation - both were a huge help. I made the national team, so am through to the final Olympic Selection in Augsburg - in May.
My Olympic Legacy Film 7 - for BBC EMT. Linford's Street Athletics - 2.7.11
Olympic Gold Medalist Linford Christie, was the star of my latest film for East Midlands Today. With his Street Athletics event, he closed off a street in Sutton in Ashfield and ran a series of fun races for kids. Linford is a genuinely lovely guy....fantastic with the kids and a real inspiration to all.
One week to go.... May 2nd 2011
To mark 39 weeks in my pregnancy, my lovely photographer sponsor, Yvonne Lishman, has taken some bump pics..... One is shown here on the left. Many thanks Yvonne! x
My Olympic Legacy Films 5 and 6 - for BBC East Midlands
Here are my latest 2 Olympic Legacy Films for BBC East Midlands Today.....
My 4th Olympic Legacy Film for BBC East Midlands Today- FEB 2011
My 4th Olympic Legacy film was about 13 year old Grace Garner.....a great young cyclist from Leicester. Along with her Mum and sister Lucy, she was a real pleasure to film. A really lovely family - I wish the girls all the best for their future in the sport. Grace is pictured on the left.
My first 'Olympic Legacy' films for the BBC - Jan 2011
This week I started presenting some Olympic Legacy films for BBC East Midlands....
Pregnant - but London 2012 still my goal.
I'm pregnant!!! Mark and I are very happy to be having our first baby in May! My plan is to be back in my boat as soon as I can be after the birth.....and compete in the London 2012 Olympic selection races in Spring 2012. I have informed the Irish Canoe Union of this decision. Many thanks for all your lovely messages!!! x
BBC training - Dec 2010
In January, I will be starting to present Olympic Legacy films for the BBC, here in the East Midlands. In preparation, this week I've been attending a BBC training course, to learn how to use the video cameras and editing equipment. It's been great fun and I've been very inspired by the course leader - award winning director, Dean Arnett.
2nd Guinness World Record!!!! 24.6.10
Wow...what a fab day!!! Today, at David Lloyd in West Bridgford, I set a new Guinness World Record....the fastest time to do 100 'handrolls' in a kayak. Cheered on by a couple of hundred children from the local schools I teach at (thanks a million kids for the brilliant banners etc!!), along with lots of friends, family and gym members, I managed to beat my best time in training by 15 seconds...to complete the record in 3 minutes and 46 seconds! Lots of people to thank.....Twiggy and Emma from TRENT FM, you were amazing (even if you did count incorrectly Twiggy and have to be corrected, haha!), the awesome Alex Chapman, (www.alexchapman.com), the safety team - Pez, Graham, Neil, Katie and Paula. MASSIVE THANKS to Pete Orton and Mark - for all the coaching and keeping me calm! Also.. Matt from Response, Chris Wheatley, all the wonderful children and teachers...and all the staff from David Lloyd. Huge thanks also to Billaboing for the bouncy castle, Damian Field - the official adjudicator from Guinness World Records, Gordon Wheeler from NCC for the grant, Jon from NAV for the P.A system, Vanessa from TICKLED STINK, Rich from BLUEPRINT - for making the boat look great, Yvonne Lishman, Joe Sargison and his group that came to coach the kids. You all made it a BRILLIANT day!!!
Amazing new sponsored car from SYTNER MINI NOTTINGHAM
Wow...Sytner MINI Nottingham have sponsored me with the most amazing new MINI...it's PINK!!!! I absolutely love it and it's such fun to drive. Huge thanks to Simon Vessey at Sytner MINI. Thanks also to the wonderful Richard Monk at Blueprint for wrapping it pink....it's just gorgeous!
LEARNING TO SKI IN LES ARCS - APRIL 2010
I am having a brilliant time in France, learning to ski...a holiday from paddling for a week! The last time I was in Bourg St Maurice I ended up spending 7 days in the local hospital, after nearly drowning on the river...! Thankfully, this time it has been ALOT more fun!! My instructor, Baptiste - from the ESF ski school, has been fab....if you go there and need lessons then he's your man! Merci beaucoup Baptiste....tu es formidable!
Paddling and filming with Mike Bushell, from BBC Breakfast, at the new Cardiff White Water Course
Update March 2010
This season is going to be slightly different to previous ones, in that I will be focussing on a new world record attempt and coming back to slalom in the summer. After injuring my shoulder last season and taking most of the winter to recover, I don't think it would be sensible to go straight back in to racing. However, training for the world record attempt will be a great short term goal and I am really excited about it - more news to follow on that shortly!!!
New project for schools 'RECORD BREAKING HELEN' January 2010
I have just launched 'RECORD BREAKING HELEN' - a new project for Primary Schools, based around inspiring children and improving their ability to learn. It's great fun and I've received fantastic feedback so far. Linford Christie MBE OBE has endorsed it and I also have the support of Guinness World Records. More details and a link to the film shown on BBC East Midlands Today will be added shortly.Pictured are children from Candleby Lane Primary School, with the cetificates they won during their day with me.
FACES, FACES, FACES - September 09
The boat looks brilliant...many thanks to everyone who let me take their photo and sponsored me for this.... Big thanks to the players and management at Notts County (including Sven!) and to everyone at County Hall. I will send individual emails out in the next few days, including pictures... Oh, nearly forgot.....THANK YOU BLUEPRINT, FOR TURNING ALL THE PICS IN TO STICKERS FOR ME!!! Richard Monk, Blueprint's Director, is pictured holding my boat.
A Great day filming at PGL Adventure - Caythorpe Court - Aug 09
What a wonderful place Caythorpe Court is - a magnificent setting for a PGL Adventure Centre, super staff and exciting activities. I spent the day filming there recently and had such a brilliant time. It brought back lovely memories of my first PGL holiday as a kid - 20 years ago - and how that memorable experience got me into canoeing!!! Big thank you to Lana Woolley - the Senior Instructor, who, apart from being really supportive on the activities, was incredibly patient with me and my camera crew!! Lana is pictured with me - the helmets do sit incredibly high on your head by the way!!!! For more info on PGL, please click on the link on my SPONSORS page.
Presenting on BBC and just missing Semi's in European Champs... 28/5/09
To see me presenting on BBC East Midlands Today last night ..
European Championships 28-31 May 2009
I am really looking forward to racing in the European Champs, here in Nottingham, next week! Having a shoulder injury, which prevented me from training for the 3 weeks before the selection, did cause a few problems....however, I am now fully recovered and delighted to get through!! Many thanks Matt Taylor at Response Physiotherapy (and Gemma, Ste + Mike!) for all their hard work - and to James Booth too. I'm really grateful!! The Women's race is Thursday morning (28th) and it is free to get in. The Semi's and Final are Saturday and live on the BBC. I am also presenting a piece on the event for the BBC, on East Midlands Today, on Tuesday evening - 6.30pm. Pictured is my coach, Michelle.
TV presenting for BBC East Midlands Today - April 09
The slalom course re-opened in Nottingham this month and the BBC invited me to present a news piece on the changes ....to see my film,
Thank you Blueprint Nottingham!! March 2009
A big thank you to Richard and Stuart for doing such an excellent job with the stickers on my new boat - they look brilliant!! These guys at BLUPRINT NOTTINGHAM can design and print anything.....boats, banners, car wraps etc etc. They are great guys too! Stuart is pictured with my boat.
Here is the link to see the GMTV pics......with me is my fab friend Vanessa, pictured here with Ben Shepherd. What a great day!!
Great fun at GMTV!!!!!!!!!! 14/10/08
Yesterday I was interviewed live on GMTV by Lorraine Kelly. She was incredibly supportive - what a lovely woman...!! Infact everyone we met that day was really friendly and took the time to chat to a very excited Vanessa and myself - Penny, Richard Arnold, money man Martin Lewis...and Fiona... I could not believe how sweet Fiona was - and how beautiful in real life! But, getting a kiss from Ben Shepherd made our day......!! Will attach a link shortly for the pics....
CARE IN NOTTINGHAM
I am delighted that CARE FERTILITY have sponsored me.... Simon Fishel is photographed with me.
New sponsored bike from Decathlon
Decathlon (Giltbrook), one of my long term sponsors, have kindly provided me with a great sports mountain bike. Pictured is cycle department manager David Bull, handing over the bike.
She's the best!! August 16th 2008
Elena Kaliska is Olympic Champion!! She has won gold again, just like she did in the Olympics 4 years ago...proving consistancy...and that she is simply the best!! Elena, from Slovakia, has invited me to train with her on numerous occasions, she is a kind, gentle person - and I'm proud to call her my friend!! AHOY ELENA...srdecne gratulujem, Si uplne vynimocna a definitivne si to zasluzis !!
OUCH!!! No Pre Worlds for me....... 11/7/08
All was going well in Seu - until I somehow managed to fall down a full set of stairs in my hotel. A very kind woman - Mari Carmen - took me down to the local hospital, where I ended up having 4 stitches in my elbow. It was incredibly painful, yet initially I thought I would still be able to race.... By the following morning the swelling was preventing me from bending my arm and I decided it would be sensible to follow the advice given to me at the hospital. Gutted!!
Life is good.......30/6/08
I've driven out to Europe for a month, to race in the World Cup series and Pre - World Championships.... and I'm loving it!! It is great to have my own car out here - and Johny Akinyemi (Nigeria) is a pleasure to travel with! World Cup 1 went ok....29th in the Semi Final...thanks a million to Erik Masoero for talking through the course with me. World Cup 2, in Tacen, I loved....was brilliant to have some coaching from top Slovenian paddler, Andrej Nolimal (pictured)- and this certainly helped in me finishing 18th in the Semis. I felt I raced well....just a big time loss at the bottom cost me a significant number of places. He is a cool guy and I hope to work more with him in the future. Many congrats to my friend Nina for her 4th place - an excellent result!! We have now arrived in Augsburg, Germany....ready for World Cup 3 this coming weekend. After the disappointment of not making Beijing, it is great to feel so excited about paddling again....Tacen certainly helped.....!!
No Olympics for me, but great results for my friends......
I haven't made it to Beijing Olympics - I'm really disappointed, but proud of what I managed to do in the circumstances......(I will explain more when I can!!) Thanks so much to Andrea Benetti for helping me with the course and for Michelle and others that sent me positive messages. I'm very grateful to my sports psychologist Craig Mahoney, to my sponsors, friends and those that have helped me prepare for the Olympic selection. Well done to my close friend Christina Gia Pron, from Italy, who managed to qualify in the most terrible personal circumstances - I know your Dad would be very proud of you - I think you showed tremendous strength to even get to the start line. Well done to Maria too. Andrea and Erik - you did brilliantly to medal...fab!! Finally, congratulations to my friend Elena Kaliska - who has just qualified her place for Slovakia - I am delighted for you and hope you take the GOLD!!! xx
Through to the Semi's with big mistake on first run!! 8/5/08
Phew! After what seemed to be a good, solid (and clean!) first run, I made a mistake on my approach to gate 23 and missed it. What a nightmare..I spent what seemed like forever paddling back up for it - finishing on the cut off for Semi's. With a better 2nd run, I am through to Saturday.
3/5/08 In Poland for European Champs and Olympic Qualification.....
I have been here in Krakow now for a couple of days, preparing for the European Champs and the final Olympic qualification. The racing starts Thursday and the semi's and final will be on Saturday.
I'm selected for the Irish Team for 2008 - next step, Olympic qualification.....
Having made the percentages last weekend in Scotland, I am in the Irish Team for 2008. I was paddling really well on Saturday, until I missed gate 11 and spent 19 seconds paddling back for it!! With another big paddle back on my second run, it was down to Sunday to enable me to qualify. With Campbell racing, it was always going to be tough....but thankfully by him hitting a pole each run it made things alot easier for me (You know I think you're lovely Campbell.....wouldn't want you to hit a pole normally - but on this occasion it helped, thanks!!) The next step is to qualify a boat for Ireland in the European Champs - this is in Poland, next month.
Racing in Scotland....and it's snowing!!! 22.3.08
I'm in Scotland for 10 days and it is absolutely freezing!! It snowed all weekend and I don't ever remember being that cold at a race! I won on Saturday, with a good 2nd run.....but on Sunday I just didn't paddle well in the Pan Celtic - 2 huge time losses left me only 3rd. However, I made the percentage required for Irish selection, which was the priority. 2 more races next weekend, then back to Nottingham. I am staying at Craigvrack Hotel again, in Pitlochry......Alan, Barbara and Jack are making me feel incredibly welcome and it is fab to see them again. Big thankyou to them (especially Jack - pictured, who came to cheer me on at the race!)
Just home - What a fab trip!! March 2nd 2008
Just arrived back in Nottingham after 8 brilliant weeks in Australia. The training was fantastic - thanks to Lou, my training partner in January and to Waz for the coaching in February. Also, thanks to Elena Kaliska, who invited me on some of her sessions and to Nina & Heather too ..(Was fun spending time with you!) I met some lovely people - and made some great friends..... a BIG thanks for the cards and presents from my mates at Bodyfit - Kel, Vaughan, Justine and all the others....(I'm missing you already!!!!)
Sponsored FIAT in Australia
Many thanks to Chris Granger, manager at Nepean Motor Group in Penrith, for sponsoring me with a FIAT during my stay in Australia. Great car - fab graphics!!
Bondi Beach... Feb 08
Couldn't resist adding this photo when I heard it was snowing at home..hehe!!! I also want to congratulate Candleby Lane Primary School on their OUTSTANDING Ofsted!!!!! The school got oustanding in every area....and half the lessons were oustanding too - apparently the most the inspection team have ever seen. I am delighted for you all....well done (especially Chris....love you lots Mr Wheatley!!)....and see you all next month!!
Training going well here in Australia.......
Training is going really well here in Australia....had a brilliant month with Lou....and am now working with Warwick Draper. I'm missing Paul Mitchell, who was coaching me back in Nottingham, but am learning lots from Warwick and he is a great guy! Been doing weights at Bodyfit gym in Blaxland
I'm in Australia!!! January 08
Just arrived in Australia and am here for the next 2 months, winter training. Lou Donnington is here with me for the first 4 weeks. The guys at quarantine took our boats yesterday and we wont get them back until tomorrow, so we spent the afternoon at Featherdale Wildlife Park......was great!
Candleby Lane School's Xmas Party 14.12.07
What a fab night...aswell as seeing Alex sing in SNUG (see below!) the whole night was amazing....great fun!!! Pictured are Lynn, on my left and Nic, on my right. You organised a great night Mr Wheatley!!!
Wow....bumped into Alex Chapman
I just couldn't believe it when our staff night out from Candleby Lane School ended up in SNUG on Friday - with my favourite local singer playing - ALEX CHAPMAN!!!!!! He was brilliant and we all had a fab night....! Thanks for the song - and the advice Alex - I've taken it on board!!! ;-)
TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT 11/10/07
I am in this weeks TES....being interviewed about my Olympic goal and how I manage to combine my training with work as a Primary School Teacher. There are some great photos too - like this one on the left - all taken by Richard Hanson.
Green PADDY POWER paddles
PADDY POWER have kindly renewed their sponsorship with me (thanks so much Paddy!!) and have chosen to put their green and white branding on my paddles. A HUGE thankyou to the wonderful Ondra Raab for making them for me - they're fab!! www.raabpaddles.com www.paddypower.com
Brazil - World Champs
Not a good race for me.....was paddling well leading up to the competition, but hit a rock under the water with my tail at gate 3 - and consequently missed the eddy at 4. This means that I have to qualify for the Olympics next Spring instead......and I'm determined to do it!!
29/8/07 PGL Adventure back on board
PGL Adventure are Europes leading activity holiday specialists and I'm really proud to be associated with them! I can honestly say they are the best holidays I have ever been on....oh and I first picked up a paddle whilst on a PGL holiday too, aged 15!!! They have just celebrated their 50th birthday and are back sponsoring me. For more information on their holidays, see www.pgl.co.uk
17/7/2007 A wonderful day at Heage Primary School
I have just spent the morning back at my old school, Heage Primary, where I did an assembly for all the children and talked to them about my Olympic goal. It was a wonderful experience to be back there after so many years - and really fantastic to meet Mrs Sharp again, who taught me when I was 9 years old!!! Thanks to everyone...especially the children, for making me feel so welcome.
June - START OF WORLD CUP RACES 2007
I'm out in Europe now for the 3 World Cup races and working with Michelle Patrick. Not only is Michelle an excellent coach and a qualified physio....she's a great friend too!!! Having a fab time and looking forward to the races starting this weekend.
April - I'M SELECTED!!
After making the percentage in all 3 selection races, I have qualified for the Irish Team for 2007...first step on the road to Beijing! The World Championships, in September, will be the first Olympic qualifier. A special thanks to Alan, Barbara and Jack - at the Craigvrack hotel, for making my stay in Scotland for the selection races so enjoyable!
November - New Sponsored Transport
Fiat UK joined up with Sunwin in Derby to provide me with the new Seidici 4x4. Its fab! Pictured is the lovely Frank Worboys (Sunwins manager) handing over the keys.