Tuesday, 6 March 2012

There is a Speed Limit

As I have been teaching on poolside in my wheelchair for a couple of weeks the Leisure Centre staff decided I need to slow down (following instructions from Head Coach).

This is the result.  I got clamped with "Speed Limit" posters on both wheels, back of wheelchair and on me:-)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Forgot I was on Wheels

This evening I was teaching on poolside at The Court ASC.  Prior to teaching, I go through the teaching plan set for the sessions and work out what equipment is required.

Today was no exception.

One of my colleagues asked if I needed any floats.  In fact I didn't I needed woggles, which are long solid foam tubes, also known as Noodles.

I set off into the dry area to get the equipment I needed as was wheeling myself out backwards along with ten woggles.

Another colleague came in and burst out laughing at me as she could see how determined I was to get the equipment out for myself.  "I had better help you" was the response she eventually mustered after composing herself from laughter.

The chair of The Court ASC was also on poolside and offered to get the next lot of woggles out for me as I required a further 9.

It just shows that everyone is beginning to accept the situation of the wheelchair and me on poolside.  However, I do get teased about the speed limit. 

I am careful what I do except I can't see behind me and sometimes catch people witht he back of chair by mistake.

The children have certainly accepted that I trundle from one side of the pool to the other to ensure that they are swimming correctly and give further instruction as required.

I certainly love my life as a volunteer swimming teacher/coach.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


I try and manage without using my manual wheelchair at poolside and last night was no exception until the pain got so bad I had no choice but to use the wheelchair on poolside.

 I had initially intended to just sit on the side and not move it up and down poolside. 

The children were swimming on their backs and being safety conscious I wanted to ensure they didn't bump their heads at the other end of the pool.

The Head Coach was busy at the other end of the pool.  That was it confidence up, I pushed off and got down the other end far quicker than I could walk.

The children had seen the wheelchair arrive on poolside and thought I was "playing around" with it.

Until they realised it was my own.  They looked puzzled but then this turned to amusement when they saw how easily I managed to turn the wheelchair around in a very tight corner.

The Head Coach made a joke of it with the children and this allayed my fears.

One child asked "Have you got something wrong with your leg".  I replied I had as it was far simpler than going into further details.

As the children headed up towards the other end of the pool.  I trundled along in the wheelchair and managed to reach the other side to ensure that they were safe.

One little girl needed her goggles adjusting.  Goggles always need adjusting and I am getting quite good at doing this.  I got out of the wheelchair and took the goggles from her to adjust them.  At this point the Head Coach decided to sit in my wheelchair.  The children were laughing when I turned around and noticed him in the chair.  He decided to try play act and be scared of me.

I told him I didn't mind him sitting in it if he wished.

The children set off swimming lengths again and I trundled up and down the poolside in my wheelchair one of children had no idea I would be at the other end before him and was really surprised.

Now I know I can be safe on poolside in my wheelchair I know I will use it far more often as I am quicker with it than I am walking.  Also I have no pain while using it.

I don't know why I try and cope and not use the "aids" I have until I actually have to.  I suppose I want to stay as mobile as possible but when I am swimming I am mobile so it is just a matter now of obtaining a happy balance.

The staff at the leisure centre had been asking me for a while if I wanted a chair on poolside I had been leaning on the steps of the look out post to help support me when I knew I needed to rest.

Now I will not need a rest I can be active in the chair and just as useful. 

So it just shows that with a bit confidence what can be achieved.

Best wishes


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Finally Rearranged the PINK POOL NIGHT

I have finally managed to rearrange the PINK POOL NIGHT to help raise funds for Swimming After Surgery (SAS)



One Day You will be able to Face the World

Venue: Wellington Civic and Leisure Centre

Saturday 31st March 2012 7.30-8.30pm

There will also be a raffle to help raise funds for Swimming After Surgery (SAS) which helps ladies recover from breast cancer surgery.

Adults £5.00 Children £2.50

For Further information or to obtain tickets Telephone Fiona on 01952 371941

Friday, 3 February 2012


I have now been able to set the date for the PINK POOL NIGHT at Wellington Civic and Leisure Centre. 

It is going to be held on Saturday 31st March 2012 at 7.30pm.

The pool will be dyed pink (quite harmless and no one will come out of the pool pink).

Adult Tickets £5.00
Children Tickets £2.50.

For further information or to book tickets please telephone 01952 371941.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A New Year

Well 2012 has finally dawned.  This year is going to be busy I expect.

The Court ASC is moving to a new home on the 9th January 2012 to Abraham Darby Swimming Pool.  Haven't seen it yet but heard a lot of things about it.

Also it is the Court ASC 40th Year.  So I expect some celebrations etc will be planned for this special year.

As it is the 2012 Olympics I expect I will be busy with various things that I am involved in.

So this year will start quietly and move up a gear over the coming months with meetings etc.

I also have to keep my finger on the pulse to ensure I keep funding going for Swimming After Surgery (SAS).  I Have the Pink Pool Night still up my sleeve once Wellington Swimming Pool finally reopens.  Apart from that the committee and I have to come up with other ideas to keep the momentum going to ensure the project is a success for the future.

I have lots of ideas but no money to sustain them at present.  Like tracksuits for the ladies with Swimming After Surgery (SAS) printed on the back.  We want these to be PINK so that they stand out from the crowd and as it is for breast cancer the colour has to be pink.  So that is something I am working on.

My Sundays will be busy too this year as the teaching schedule for The Court ASC has changed a lot.  So Monday evenings will be free of swimming and Sunday afternoons replace them.

I love challenges and I hope I can live up to my own expectations for this year.  My wonderful husband who supports me in everything I do says I push myself too hard.  I feel that I can never do enough to help those who are far worse off than me.

I feel for all those ladies who are worried about their implants.  They didn't just decide to have "boob jobs".  They were the ones diagnosed with breast cancer and have had no choice but to have reconstruction with these implants.  Many doctors insist that ladies facing mastectomies get referred for reconstruction.  I fought this protocol so hard as I was under 40.  I had to agree to three months of counselling to prove I was making an informed choice and was of sound mind to do so.  I will never ever forget the look of victory on my face when the consultant finally agreed to what I wanted.

I am one of the lucky ones I am happy with the way I am, scars and all.  My prothesis are heavy and are uncomfortable.  More often than not I don't bother wearing one.  No one notices as I am smiling most of the time.  It is only when we get on the subject of breast cancer that it gets noticed.  Some say I am brave.  I am not.  I am just me and happy with the way I am.  Seven breast operations on the one side was enough for me.  To have to face another for a reconstruction was more than I could bear.  So there you have it I am a coward and couldn't face any more operations on that side. 

It is knowing what these ladies are going through and are trying to come out the other side of that inspires me to keep Swimming After Surgery (SAS) going.  They need a stepping stone to move forward and this is it. 

Imagine losing part of your body and attempting to put a swimming costume on to face a general swimming session.  Could you do it?

It took me six months of courage and a telephone call to make it. 

Swimming After Surgery (SAS) offers a helping hand and support every step of the way to help point you in the right direction of choosing a swimming costume to eventually plucking up the courage to enter the swimming pool environment.  I know it will take many women a very long time to even get to this point. 

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy have to be over and permission has to be granted from their consultants, breast care nurses or GP before they can even attempt this journey.

Many will want to do it straight away but the time has to be right for them.

Setting something like Swimming After Surgery (SAS) up has taken time, energy and effort but I love every minute of it.  Seeing the women smiling in the water is what keeps me going.

Knowing that I am happier in the water than out of it also helps me too.  I love my life and couldn't be happier despite all the operations, scars and everything else I have gone through this is what I am here for.

Helping women overcome breast cancer surgery and to see them smile and grow in confidence so that they too can get their lives back to some sort of normality.

My life will never be normal but I love the challenges it offers me and I know this year will not be any different.  Bring them on.

Happy New Year one and all.  Best wishes


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Still pinching myself

Last night at a committee meeting for The Court Amateur Swimming Club I found out I have been awarded Volunteer of the Year 2011.  I have also been briefed that this means I have to take my swimsuit with me to the pool when I go to teach on Friday night as I will be pushed in. 

I love my swimming life and having looked back at this year, I can't quite believe what I attempted and achieved. 

I couldn't even put my head under water at the beginning of the year.  Now I jump in, swim with my head underwater and attempt new things.

The year started with a Level 1 Teaching Aquatics Course.  Closely followed by a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ).  I attempted this but failed on the timed swims.

Then I was invited to The House of Commons in May to receive the Big Splash Award http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/swimming/13364090.stm

Following this I have done several Continuing Professional Development Courses to enable me to teach people with disabilities.

Now to end the year on this high I can't quite believe the year I have had.  It has certainly been challenging with things not being in my control.  For instance the PINK POOL NIGHT being postponed due to Wellington Civic and Leisure Centre not reopening in time for the event in January.

On the whole I can be proud of what I have achieved and am achieving so I would definitely call this year a success.

I wish everyone a very wonderful Christmas and an extremely Happy New Year.

Best wishes