It’s not every day that a world-renowned business leader selects your story to tell, but that’s precisely what happened when Nat described, as part of Branson’s ‘Finding my virginity’ campaign, her experience of overcoming her fears during a recent canyoning adventure.
I can personally vouch for Nat’s fear of heights, falling, and swinging on a rope (particularly sideways), from years of rock climbing together. I’ve often wondered why, given her fears, she returns to the sport time and time again. Surely something on the ground, not requiring safety equipment or the potential to fall into the unknown would be a more comfortable choice?
Nat was, of course, delighted to be featured in Branson’s article but, more to the point, the lesson she shared is one worth repeating: we should always try something twice, even if we don’t like it, because it’s a great way to build confidence.
I am always delighted to be invited to see UK Youth’s updates at Avon Tyrrell, a charity that is very close to my heart, but this year was especially exciting because September’s charity show case had a couple of very special guests: not only did I get to meet Princess Anne, I also got to meet one of my dad’s hero’s, Nigel Mansell CBE!
The young people on site were thrilled by the manner of arrival and departure manner by the Princess Royal, who landed on the lawn in a very smart navy helicopter.
The staff at Avon Tyrell and UK Youth showed us around the now crumpling Grade I listed house that provides such an amazing setting to the groups that use it, but is in desperate need of repair and TLC.
“Staying in the house seems a little bit like being part of a big adventure – your own slice of Hogwarts.”
The charity hopes that by raising awareness they will be able to keep offering outdoor learning and away from home services to the UK’s young people for another 70 years.
It’s time for the annual team event that results in us getting very dirty and sweaty (and being treated with plenty of tea, biscuits and cooked meals): the Avon Tyrrell weekend! We have been returning to Avon Tyrrell for an onsite working weekend for the past eight years – each year we get a new challenge, have lots of fun, and help to improve the center’s facilities in the name of charity.
This year we were put to work erecting new fencing and creating a path to the new archery area, which also needed a new shelter. Although the brief sounded simple enough, the team can attest to plenty of back-breaking work – especially the fencing. I had no idea that digging holes in clay and mixing concrete was quite so tough!
Avon Tyrrell is a fabulous outdoor activity centre based in the New Forest: https://www.avontyrrell.org.uk They are also part of UK Youth: http://www.ukyouth.org/, a national charity providing opportunities to young people. Mercury1 have been supporting both UK Youth and Avon Tyrrell since 2010, and we know how worthwhile their work is: it’s a pleasure to be able to help them with whatever we can.