I’ve had a pretty crazy week this week, with so much stuff going on I’ve hardly had time to work or train. I presented awards to students from Ashington and Bedlington High Schools on Tuesday night at Kingston Park, it was for an apprenticeship scheme aimed at giving young people more opportunities to work in sport. Alongside NUFC’s Justin Lockwood I also jabbered on for a bit about my stories and experiences in sport, the whole evening seemed to go very well, with everyone responding to me being there and speaking – Which is what I look for when I make appearances.
The next morning I was up at stupid o’clock to go down to Sheffield to lend my support to the Changing Places campaign – http://www.changing-places.org/ – which is all about getting fully accessible toilets in more places, now toilets might not be the most glamorous of things to promote but I think I did a canny job. I had to go into the new changing places pod in the city centre as a normal person in normal clothes, then get changed and come out in my GB tracksuit with all my medals on – a bit like Superman but not quite. Anyway, I’m sure there will be lots of great photos and I will post as soon as I get. Also there to join in was the local MP and none other than Uriah Rennie – and yes, I give him some stick for sending off Shearer. Was good to go to Sheffield, the last time I went to Ponds Forge was for the boccia nationals some 15 years ago, when I met Duncan Goodhew and he gave me his autograph even though I didn’t ask for it. The campaign is worth backing though, I never used to need to use disabled toilets but since my hip knacked up its really striking how many places don’t have proper accessible toilets now that I need to use them.
On Thursday I sat on the Northumberland Sports Board at their first meeting since being rejigged, I was asked to go on a while ago and jumped at the opportunity, I won’t be there for the coffee and biscuits, I’ll hope to air my strong opinions and represent disability sport at the strategic level – not that Steve Cram (the chair) will take any notice of a Geordie like me. Sadly I missed the hot buffet at the end of the meeting as I had to shoot off early to Gateshead Stadium where I was speaking at Tyne & Wear’s Playground to Podium event. I’m all inspired out this week, but that didn’t stop me handing out medals at a primary schools athletics event on Friday, thankfully I could only go for the last hour which meant I missed the massive downpour in the afternoon.
The inspiration stopped on Friday night when I went to the races for the Gosforth Cup, too many 2nd places to mention but I would’ve came home with no money if a kind bloke that knew me hadn’t given me £4 to put on the last race because he knew the horse’s owner – it came in and my horse came nowhere. Bit random but I wasn’t arguing when I collected the winnings.