It’s OK To Say charity founder embarks on Channel swim for Children’s Air Ambulance
- Credit: Archant
It comes as no surprise that It’s OK To Say mental health awareness charity founder Stacey Turner is undertaking another epic challenge following her climb up Mount Kilimanjaro - this time in water.
She will be attempting to swim the English Channel in a relay event from June 10-14 2021, covering the 22 miles between Dover and Calais to support the Children’s Air Ambulance.
Her decision to embark on the swim follows the news that she has been commissioned to write a children’s book for the charity, which flies critically ill babies and children from one hospital to another for specialist care nationwide. If a child is too sick to fly, the service can transport a team of specialists with equipment directly to their young patients.
Stacey, who is a published children’s author, said: “Writing is well and truly underway and coming together nicely. Being chosen to capture the essence of the Children’s Air Ambulance and bring it to life for children to read is very special. I am so inspired by the whole charity, the beautiful people who run it, fundraise for it with everyone passionate and dedicated for the cause.”
As part of her research, she visited the charity’s Oxford air base, spending hours with the pilots to learn all about the helicopter and the roles they play in a patient transfer. She also met some of their fundraising managers, who shared their love for what they do and why they do it.
“I was surprised with a visit from eight-year-old Chloe Hadley, who has raised an incredible £3,500 [the cost of just one helicopter mission] through various activities.
“I heard first hand on what it’s like to part of #thecrew, which is the charity’s club for kids, led by kids, founded by two nine-year olds. Chloe told me, ‘It was really cool to meet an author, Stacey is very kind and I’m excited to see the book’.”
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Stacey has teamed up with local illustrator, Claire Spake and editor Sarah Walden of Noodle Fuel to help her achieve my vision for the book, which will be printed by publishing partner Little Tiger.
Claire said: “I’m so excited to be working with Stacey on this project. The Children’s Air Ambulance is an incredible service and I can’t wait to be part of the team helping to bring the amazing work they do to life in this fantastic book. Stacey is so passionate about the charity and that really comes through in her writing. It will be amazing to see the book on shop shelves.”
Inspired by the work of the Children’s Air Ambulance, Stacey decided to join their Channel Swim Relay event.
Teams of six will be covering the 22 miles between Dover and Calais, and will take it in turns to swim the Channel in rotation. This challenge is a physical and mental challenge that can only be achieved with support, will power and the right preparation.
Stacey will be starting her training in September, and said: “I’d like to talk to someone who has perhaps done this or something similar, so welcome advice from anyone.
“My training will include physical and mental preparation, I will be posting and regularly updating throughout, and the Channel swim will be featured in the book.
“I am also pleased to announce that ex-England cricketer and broadcaster Monty Panesar will be joining me.”
Monty said: “I’m totally up for doing this with Stacey, it’s such a great cause and I am only too happy to take part and support.”
Any Williamson, chief executive for the Children’s Air Ambulance added: “I am delighted to have Stacey on board with the Children’s Air Ambulance and especially for undertaking the children’s book project that will mean a great deal for our young supporters and their parents.
“Having a story in print and available to all about the wonderful work the charity does is exciting. Stacey’s second book might
have to be about all the people taking part in our Channel swim next year, including Stacey herself.”
Stacey added: “I will of course be raising further awareness for mental health, hopefully someone will want to follow me, be inspired to believe, have hope and join me on this positive mental journey.”