Tag Archives: thegoodwashcompany

Another Week, Another Tyre Drag. (Week 8)

Week ending 13th March

Alison has returned from her much needed holiday, 2 weeks away and 6lbs heavier she informs me. She managed to use the gym on board and keep at the weights and running, apparently running whilst on rough sea is interesting and a challenge. Imagine the core muscles you need to do that? Running on a treadmill, in a gym, on a boat in the sea; fabulous!

Given that she didn’t have access to social media it means she is also playing catch up with all the activity she missed whilst being away. For her it’s great to see what the team have achieved and that they have been as busy as always whilst she has been away.

Also this week George and Alison went to Eveswell Primary School where they presented to a fantastic bunch of 50 children who were all very interested in the Antarctic and their planned expedition. Thank you and a huge well done to all those involved! Now you might remember I mentioned the DSET (Defence Simulation Education and Training) conference that George was presenting at? Well her week was pretty much consumed by just that. She was presenting on Innovation to roughly 200 MOD personnel; her presentation was called ‘Communicate to Innovate’ and was all about the rare art of communication and how it can help with change and therefore innovation becomes more organic rather than forced. A fantastic few days but it really took it out of George meaning that her training suffered slightly.

George at the DSET conference with fellow heroes and speakers flying the flag for the AFA!

Nikki, Nakita and Rebecca had a meeting with their Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Comms department to discuss how the AFA and LFB can move forward together such as media training to be able to handle sensitive issues in the press. It was hugely positive and they are excited to be on the same page going forward.

Nikki also finally met with Owen who is going to be their web designer. She was given the task of deciding how they wanted the website to work and what needed to be on it. Taking the lead in the meeting with Owen she got very animated talking about what the team would want, and like any good designer, when he explained everything back to her she could imagine the website coming to life. Combine that with Nikki’s friend who has just returned from Australia who will writing the content it sounds like a force to be reckoned with!

Despite busy work schedules LAFA actually managed to go for a collective tyre dragging session. They went out on Epsom Downs for two and a half hours covering 7.7km and dragging 2 tyres each; they even took along Nikki’s best friend Emily who is also a firefighter at Chelsea. Nikki shot off like a rocket and had to be reminded by Rebecca to slow down, the key is slow and steady so they can maintain the drag for longer. Something for Nikki to work on over the coming years and I’m sure she will have it down to a fine art by 2023!

One thing that stuck out for Rebecca whilst they were walking single file dragging the tyres was the stark reality of what could lie ahead, many lonely hours. Just think about that, the freezing temperatures, the long days and nights, the constant movement and the battle against the elements and themselves. It will be a long hard battle but the more they practise now the easier it will be when they get there.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Nakita and it has made her realise how important it is to remove toxic people from your life. Keep your circle strong and positive. Right now is the time to make sure they are planning fitness regimes properly and preparing for the pulk pull. LAFA had a team meeting where they went over their availability for the next 6 months and it made them realise how difficult it is going to be to train together as a London team let alone a whole team! Motivation is key to going out alone along with organisation and communication with the rest of the team, and of course not being concerned about looking like a weirdo pulling tyres around behind you…!

The team have also had a film company approach them, still all very early stages but so exciting to know that their story and expedition is getting out there. If this does become a film documentary it will potentially raise thousands for charity. How incredible would that be?

It is easy to sit and read this and think that the guys are just training every now and then, have time to go out and see family and friends and work casual shifts but you’d be very wrong. You have to remember how much of their own leave the team are using to train and are even planning to take sabbaticals to make this expedition happen. It is not easy and there is never enough time to fit everything in. It is going to be hard, so hard and sacrifices will have to be made along with a constant balancing act of work, family, friends, training and having fun. That is important, to have fun, you have to take a break sometimes from the relentless regime and rat race of life.

Last week we looked at the different videos and articles the team had released on IWD2020, some I didn’t include we on the ‘We Are The City’ website who are working closely with our team. Take a look at their pages dedicated to the inspirational women you might just recognise some of those faces and names as our very own AFA. https://wearethecity.com/category/inspirational-profiles/isw-public-sector/. How truly humbling for me to be involved with such a fantastic team, it is so important to celebrate women in this way and those that support them in achieving all they can.

Remember that these guys are raising money for their charities and you can donate on their GoFundMe page – https://www.gofundme.com/f/antarctic-fire-angels. A great way to do this is also to purchase that fantastic top from The Good Wash Company, one has even been shipped to Australia! If you have one, post a picture of yourself below or on social media and make sure you tag the guys, they’d love to see them.

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.’

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.

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.

So it begins…! (Week 1)

(Week ending 24th Jan 2020)

As well as holding down hugely inspiring day jobs, our Fire Angels are in constant training for their challenge, meeting potential sponsors and drumming up support everywhere they go.

This is the first of many blogs where we get an insight into their week; we find out what they’ve been getting up to, dealing with the ups and downs of life, holding down a day (and night) job, whilst pushing forward with their plans.

Time is already flying by and there are never enough hours in the day for this team. Anything that can help with organisation and push time efficiency is a big hit; so after hearing about the app ‘Trello’ Nikki decided to check it out to see if it could help the team with their multiple to-do lists; turns out it’s a total game changer! Nikki has set up a group for the team and it’s all systems go! (Check the app out, pictured, for all your organisational needs). Along side this Nikki has been pushing forward with emails of every kind; sponsorship requests, TV networking, hoody designs…the list is endless!

Along side this Team LAFA filmed a few pieces for LFB (London Fire Brigade) this week, one for LFB’s #LoveLondon in LittleVenice and the other was focusing on the expedition itself and the team. Understanding what strengths and experience each individual brings and how they are able to support each other through the gruelling training regimes and drive towards their ultimate goal together.

Aside from the training and the day jobs you have to remember that these firefighters still have every day life to deal with too. Everything from being a wife, grandmother, aunt, partner, sister and so on. One high for Rebecca this week was that her brother in law and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby girl, mother and baby are doing well and huge congratulations to the family. This happy moment comes at a time that has been hugely difficult for Rebecca and her family. She has only just returned to work this week after 5 weeks off; her step Dad sadly passed away suddenly in December so she has been back with her family in Wales supporting her mum. Anyone who has ever lost a parent, step-parent or guardian knows just how emotionally draining it can be, how it can sometimes be hard to get back into any sort of regular routine once you’re ready. Being back with her watch this week she has had great support and friendship from the brigade which has made the transition back to work much easier for her.

It seems that LAFA have had a hard and thought provoking week; Nakita heard that a close friend from her past had died this week. Having lost contact over the years it hit home how important friendships are in life and how sometimes life seems to get in the way. We all have people we’ve lost touch with, the ones we don’t always make the time or effort to keep in touch with, right?

It is so important to remember the benefit of taking time out when you hit any sort of low in life and find a way to deal with your feelings and your mind. Sometimes we feel that we can just carry on and that it hasn’t had any impact on us but that usually isn’t the case. There will always be repercussions when something out of the ordinary happens, when something out of the blue knocks you sideways. Remember, it’s ok not to be ok. Talk to people, tell people how you are feeling.

Team WAFA met with Andy McCann this week from DNA Definitive‘. Andy was Beci’s PE teacher when she was at school teaching her Tang Soo Do (karate based Korean martial arts) and has always been one of her heroes and a huge inspiration to her. ‘DNA definitive’ is about ‘powering performance’ and ‘unlocking human potential’.

Andy offered nutrition advice, assistance with training programmes and information on psychological support; all of which will be hugely beneficial to the team over the years. For Beci, being able to reconnect with Andy and work together on a project has been amazing, who wouldn’t want to work with one of their heroes?!

As you’ve read previously, a huge driving force behind this expedition is all around inspiring the next generation; the team know that one of the best ways to do that is to take the time to visit schools and talk to children and teenagers face to face about their expedition and how mental health is something we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about. Together George, Beci and Alison have put together a number of presentations to deliver to schools in the coming weeks and months. As part of the talks the team have had some special bears created by ‘Elisabeth Sews’ to take with them, adorned with the AFA logo they will certainly help the team create memories. (Check Elisabeth out on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/elisabethsews).

George has also been in discussions with ‘Mountain Equipment’ and ‘Nordiclife’ to talk about their kit options and budgets and they even have their very first piece of kit specific equipment; Cross Country Skiing poles. It’s all getting very real now and the team can’t wait to get stuck in. With their team vests arriving ready for their logo to be added make sure you keep a look out for the team; take a look at the logo, top of the page, and keep an eye out!

AFA Team (Antarctic Fire Angels)
Collectively the AFA’s had multiple meetings this week with potential sponsors and charities they are supporting. Team WAFA drove all the way down from Wales for these and LAFA had just come off their last night shift, talk about dedication to the cause! Pictured here are some of the team at a meeting with Fawcett Society. They are the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s right’s.

They do amazing work and tackle everything from smashing stereotypes, equal pay and power and workplace sexual harassment. These messages of female empowerment and support speak volumes to the team and this is why they are one of the charities they will be supporting from donations made. The team had time to talk and discuss experiences and situations they have been in, both at work and in their personal lives with particular focus on being female firefighters.

An official sponsor of the AFA’s is ‘Explorers Coffee‘ they are ‘an independent purveyor of coffees, coffee products and explorer adventure accessories’. It is owned and operated by Neil Hallsworth who is a military spouse and service veteran. The team were blown away at the meeting where they had time to talk to a Naval officer about to be medically discharged who was inspired and wanted to support the team. If you need some rocket fuel and love coffee check them out!

In fact it seems that lots of people want to support and get involved in some way; this week they also met Natalie Hewitt; a self-shooting documentary director whose work has been nominated for a Grierson award as well as two nominations for ‘Best Documentary’ at the broadcast awards. Sharing stories from her own Antarctic experiences she was a fantastic and inspiring woman who can’t wait to get involved with the team. And as if that wasn’t enough some of the team also met up with ‘The Good Wash Company, a company making luxury wash products made in Wales from the finest natural ingredients. They are on a mission to change the world ‘one wash at a time’ with their profits helping improve the lives of animals and people; sounds pretty impressive to us!

Wow…I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted just reading this! To some this might not sound like much to do in a week, but add in the day job, the constant daily training and organisation of upcoming events and all this adds up to a packed week! This is how it’s going to be for the next few years, constant battles to find enough time to do everything; they will all have super long days, feel tired and it is already starting to take it’s toll on the team.

We are sharing this with you because we want you to see every side of this challenge, not just the interviews and photos, not just the positives but the hard hitting reality that this is a massive undertaking for the team. They are gaining momentum with more and more requests and offers for help rolling in. This is getting bigger and better week by week and it’s all down to the constant effort LAFA and WAFA are putting in.

Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to!

Written by Elissa.