Tag Archives: strongertogether

International Women’s Day. (Week 7)

Week ending 8th March 2020

Team LAFA
You might recall last week I talked about Rebecca doing a piece with Harlequins all around International Women’s Day, well go and take a look at the video (click the picture) that’s out for everyone to see.

As all of our team are inspirational women it seems, quite rightly, they were all involved in IWD2020 in some way. Nakita, Rebecca and Nikki did a separate piece for the London Fire Brigade; why not take a look to find out from the guys themselves, what the challenge is and why they are doing this challenge; https://www.instagram.com/p/B9eFd6ojb-W/

In other day to day news, Nikki had her occupational health appointment at work and after completing various exercises with a BA set on her back to demonstrate that her leg could handle it, she has finally been approved to go back to work! She also did a CrossFit induction which means she can get membership at the gym; CrossFit is totally different and she feels it really challenges her, it is amazing preparation for what he will be putting her body through over the next few years. She has also managed to acquire 3 weighted vests from Gravity who are kindly donating them to the team, this is a huge help and great addition to the training days. Like the training isn’t difficult enough already…!

Nakita was involved in LACE training this week on her 2 days off, she loves training in line rescue so had a great time. Check out the picture to the right of Nakita and the team on the training days.

Away from the training and work she also went on her first date in a long time, she might have been nervous but if she can go to the Antarctic she can go on a date, right?

Apart from that Nakita’s training took a bit of a back burner this week as her car needed an MOT but she went for long walks with her youngest dog instead and after 5km he started limping. It wasn’t worth the risk to continue so she called for an emergency evacuation! Pup is fine now but had her worried. She also had some people try and throw negativity into her arena, and that 100% is not going to happen. She has no problem removing those who are negative or try and dull the shine. Life is about helping each other, being supportive and working together. Talking of supportive, don’t forget that although we are celebrating National Women’s Day this week these guys have plenty of men who are there every step of the way to lifted them up…quite literally! (See pic).

Team WAFA
For International Women’s Day at South Wales Fire and Rescue HQ George was invited to speak on the day about what it means to us as women, the service and the wider audience. Beci joined her which was great, it’s always lovely to have some moral support when doing these things. George also got to introduce Lowri Morgan who is an inspiration to us all, what endurance event she hasn’t done isn’t worth knowing! She is absolutely amazing and the team hope they do her proud and follow in her footsteps someday. 

On top of that George is still getting ready for the DSET conference next week where she is presenting to the military amongst other representatives on innovation and communication. It has been quite a bit of pressure to produce something that represents the team AFA and the service but 11th March will be judgement day for all the hard work she has put in. Also on the day there will be an official hand over announcing the team as their 2021 charity of the year!

The 3rd was George’s birthday and she spent the day at Techniquest presenting to 5×50 children all about the Expedition; how to tow tyres, what the weather is like and how dry it is and also how they will go to the toilet out in Antarctica! Talking of towing tyres she has been doing lots of that with the dogs and they love it.

This was all rounded off by a lovely meal in the evening in Penarth. Thank you George, you are truly inspirational. Happy Birthday/
Penblwydd Hapus!

Just as a reminder, the launch of the Good Wash products happened and you need to take a look at the amazing top available? (Don’t forget to go and buy one). There was also the launch of some amazing deals from KitTags UK. They did a run of freebie tags when you donated £10 to the GoFundMe Page. They might all be gone now, but head over to the KitTag website and take a look, you’ll never lose your luggage or bags again with these tags.

Finally, some of you may have heard of Kay Hallsworth, she is co-owner of Explorers Coffee who sponsor our Fire Angels. More importantly she is also Commander Kay Hallsworth of the Royal Navy and she was shortlisted for Women in Defence Unsung Heroes Award! She’s been in the Royal Navy for over 27 years, progressing from student nurse to Commander and Kay also has ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). I found an inspiring and interesting article on her here; https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/03/personal-disability-stories-10-kays-story/

Hope you are all feeling inspired, whether you are a woman or support one in life, keep doing what you’re doing! In light of the current situation in our country and the world, just a reminder. Stay Safe. Stay In.

Written by Elissa

The Times 2. (Week 6)

(Week ending 28th Feb 2020)

Biggest news this week was the release of the Times2 interview that the team did a few weeks back. They were so impressed with the article and you couldn’t miss it, a whole two page spread inside The Times. For those of you who did miss it you can find it here on the official website; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-female-firefighters-bidding-to-conquer-antarctica-s98nprdqn

It showcased the team with some amazing pictures and the article itself was powerful and reinforced the positive reasons for this expedition. Reasons for why they want to do this vary but I liked these wise words from Alison – ‘I’m a granny and I want to leave a legacy, I want my grandchildren to know that women can go anywhere and do anything if they put their minds to it’ and as Nakita points out in the article, no one has this life down to a fine art, no one is 100% certain of how everything will turn out. We just have to keep calm and carry on. ‘There’s no such thing as a mentally super-fit person. Not in life and certainly not int he fire-service. You do your very best on the scene at the time, but you’re only human; things come back to haunt you. Why did this disaster happen? On this expedition we want to show that you can suffer adverse events professionally and personally, but still achieve something incredible as a team.’

Team LAFA
In other news, Nikki has been desperately trying to get back to her peak physical fitness after the ‘shark bite’ incident and is still awaiting her medical to give her the go ahead to get back to work. It’s been a fairly quiet week due to that, going on a 20km walk with her mum who is 64 but very active and super keen on joining in as many walks as possible so that they can spend some time together.

Having had her walking boots for over 12 years which were falling apart Nikki decided to treat herself to a new pair and even got a bargain for a pair at £89 down from £180! With all the kit the team have to buy over the coming years, every saving is a bonus.

Sticking with the training, Rebecca started tyre pulling and boy was it hard work! With one hour at a time to get used to it it has made her realise that there is a lot of training to be done before they are ready to tackle the Antarctic. On a positive side it is hugely exciting for the team to get the specific training underway and ensure they are fit and ready for 2023.

With International Women’s Day coming up, and our team being just that, truly inspirational, Rebecca had an interview with Harlequins Rugby Club. You might remember she used to play for the club before her injury so it was lovely for her to have some involvement still and be asked to do this video piece for such an important day.

Team WAFA
George had a crazy busy week; first off she has been in contact with Helen Turton of ‘Newland Expeditions’ to plan and set the date for the team’s Norway training next year. The pressure now being to fundraise to cover the deposit as soon as possible; with her constant drive to get things done it has been frustrating for her not being able to get everything booked and sorted immediately. Despite that, it is SUPER exciting and the team can’t wait for the trip. Second on the list she has been in discussions with NatWest to go on to their pre-accelerator programme which would give them access to hubs for meetings instead of the usual coffee shops and also business links that we would never have otherwise thought of.

Along side that she has been busy sorting out her presentation for ‘Techniquest’ on 3rd March which will see 5 groups of 50 children pull a sled of 85kg! It will be a long day and it is also her birthday that day, she will have earned a treat a two by the end of the day. Not to mention the 25 minute PowerPoint presentation to write for the DSET conference later in March and writing her speech for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service International Women’s Day; this woman is a machine!

The Goodwash Company that have been mentioned a fair few times before are working with the AFA team, sorting out product lines to sell which will help raise funds for the team too. How amazing is that?!

Technically this was launched for International Women’s Day which is the week after this blogs events, but as it’s so incredible I think i’ll let it slip in!

If you haven’t already seen the top or purchased it, first off, why not?! Secondly, click the imagine and go and get yourself one of these beautiful tops!

Don’t forget to keep donating on the GoFundMe page and i’ve dropped another picture below shot by the amazing photographer Gareth Iwan Jones from the Times2; this is the training these guys are putting in. When we come home and think about what’s for dinner or think about sitting on the sofa and what to watch on TV, they are pulling tyres over beaches and muddy park land. They are pushing themselves to the limit enough to know that when this expedition comes they will have done everything they can to showcase what they as firefighters, women, grandmothers, mothers, daughters can do. I said it in the first blog and I’ll say it again, this is all out girl power pushing boundaries; when people say ‘but women can’t do that’ they are saying ‘yes we can!’.

Written by Elissa.

Keep Calm and Carry On Training! (Week 2)

(Week ending 31st Jan 2020)

This week has been one of those weeks for the team. You know the ones, where nothing really goes to plan, you wish you could get up and start the day again and you end up hardly achieving anything on your to-do list?! Yes; one of those weeks…

Across the AFA team they have had their fair share of set backs this week, those typical highs and lows we all get in life. But they’ve kept their heads up and carried on, kept fighting and more importantly kept training!

Team LAFA
Nikki took a massive physical step back this week when she sliced her leg open whilst teaching a spinning class…! She ended up needing 13 stitches and having to rest up for the rest of the week. We won’t be sharing the photos on here, although they are on her social media if you really want to check it out! The only word that comes to mind is OUCH! On the flip side this did give her more time to sit down and catch up on all things computer related which lead to her liaising with ‘We Are City’ . They are the ‘leading women’s website for careers, awards, women in tech, networking, events and information’ and they’ve done an article on the team. Check it out here; https://wearethecity.com/inspirational-female-firefighters-looking-for-sponsors-to-help-achieve-their-antarctic-challenge/

On top of that she also tweeted Chelsea’s MP and about the team and their expedition and got an immediate response with an added extra, he wants to come and visit their fire station to meet her and her brigade!

Nakita’s week didn’t quite go how she had planned either; first off there was an incident at the gym when she was sworn at by another gym member for using a certain piece of equipment…go figure?! It might not sound like much but when the gym is your safe place and somewhere you enjoy going, any negative feelings and emotions that manage to seep in start to break that safe feeling down. It triggered serious anxiety about being able to go back in, with the constant worry about bumping in to the same people again.

On top of that her relationship ended, over the phone, which came as quite a surprise to her. It churned up all sorts of emotions and made her feel that she couldn’t give 100% to the team this week and felt like everything got away from her. For anyone reading this, most of us will know how it feels for a relationship to come to an end. It’s difficult, regardless of who ends the relationship, why or how they do it, nothing makes the impact any easier. When it comes out of the blue it’s hard to keep your emotions in check and even harder to focus. You really need to take time to work through the stages of anger, upset, acceptance and try and carry on. That might be easier said than done but remember that there are always people who have been there, always people you can talk to. See what I mean about having one of those weeks?

But the meetings kept coming and some of the team met up with the Harlequin Foundation’ to talk about their future together. If you remember, this is one of the charities the team will be supporting from any donations they get over the coming years. The Harlequins Foundation was set up in 2015 and their goal is all about ‘Building Brighter Futures’ with the aim to ‘combine the power of sport with the unique spirit, expertise and experience of Harlequins to create opportunities for people within our local communities and, as we grow, beyond.’ There will be more to come as the team continue to work together over the years.

Team WAFA
For Alison and Georgina it was all about training this week; as well as weights, cardio, walking and circuit training they changed things up a bit and used resistance bands to simulate dragging the sleds they will have to pull in the Antarctic, and boy could they feel the difference! Over the next few months they will up the resistance to make sure they are fully ready for the big expedition.

Georgina even managed to acquire 18 tyres from Assembly Member Julie Morgan. After spending two days scrubbing and cleaning them so they could go in the car the next step is to prep them for dragging them along the beaches. George and Alison’s husband, Mark, have then been adapting the tyres, attaching 3 together for each team member. Alison was also able to collect a lot of carabiners destined for the bin but recycled them to join the tyres together.

And yes, you did read that correctly, raining will include pulling the tyres with rope across beaches and other terrain; so if you happen to see any of the team on a beach near you give them a cheer!

With Fire Brigade Union meetings taking up two days of Beci’s week and her daughter badly spraining her wrist it means that the rest of the week was taken up by circuit and triathlon training; and just like that the week was over. See what I mean about there not being enough days in the week for these guys to get everything done?!

Remember the school presentations we talked about? Well the first one was this week with over 420 children totally captivated by the talk and had some great feedback too. Here is a picture of George mid flow at one the her presentations. The bears by Elisabeth Sews went down a treat too so hopefully they will raise some good funds for charity.

With everything that is going on including the day job, training and emails George was all about taking mental down down at the end of the week. We are talking about a social media black out. If you have never tried it I advise that you do; there is something quite liberating about it, not being connected to the world through the device that is constantly glued to your hand. George got out there with the dogs and went on a walk, no mobile phone, no social media, just her own mind and own thoughts. There is no better way to help your mental health than to take a break from social media sometimes, it is good for the mind.

The big news coming up is that the team are prepping this week for their big weekend away to Scotland in February. It will be the first time in a while the whole team has been together and more importantly they will be learning all about ski-ing, a skill they need to conquer for 2023!

Written by Elissa.