Kinder Scout and the Wales Coast Path
I stood for election as a councillor as I want to make a positive contribution to Adamsdown and Cardiff and saw it as an opportunity to do so in a different way, a change from being a campaigner for causes.
I didn’t make it and I can’t pretend that I was not a little bit gutted by this. I worked hard, built up a team, talked to people about what mattered, got the twitter and Facebook accounts up and running, took too many selfies and lots of photos. I wrote the copy for our newsletters, liaised with the printers, got the boards built and up. We ran a damn fine campaign. In the end it’s the votes that matter and there weren’t enough.
So one year later, how does it feel? As always as time passes things matter less and the things that happen as a consequence of not getting what you strived for end up being the right things after all. I got a great job working in the constituency, I get to remain a campaigner, to speak truth to power, to fight for what’s right unconstrained by the collective responsibility that comes with holding an elected position.
I’ve been able to get back into cycle campaigning, get reacquainted with my feminist politics and now as I take a break from local party politics I can ride my bike more too. Life’s all about getting the balance right.
My politics are formed by my upbringing, by my experiences and to some extent by happy coincidences.
My dad, whilst a teacher in a primary school in the midst of a Council estate, would ‘redistribute wealth’ by taking books that we’d read to school, much to our annoyance at the time it has to be said!
35 years later, thanks to the power of Facebook, I have had conversations with some of those who shared my books. He really did change lives by these seemingly small acts.
He was the “best story teller, everyone wanted to be in Mr Owens class 🙂and encouraged us to get into IT when it was all so new and unknown to us at that time: 🙂 very loved and respected teacher, stig of the dump best story”
My mum was a social worker and again had an unshakeable belief in people, their worth and their right to have the same chances in life that we had.
Social media again brought me to tears when an old school friend got in touch on seeing that I was standing for election
I can also see your mum in you, such a lovely lady I worked with for many years in Powys Social Services – you are a credit to her.”
My parents, through the way they lived their lives, instilled in me a determination to play my part in doing what I can to make a difference. For the last 30 years or so I have done this through volunteering, being a trustee, working in the Third sector. It’s not easy being a campaigner.
Then the General Election 2015 happened and I felt a real despair. So just two years ago, I joined the Labour Party for this reason:
“by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”
It was with these principles that I’d been raised. I live in Adamsdown, in Cardiff Central and in 2015 we’d just bucked the trend and elected a Labour MP, Jo Stevens. I got drawn in and quite quickly realised that local politics might be for me!
So here I am less than two weeks away from polling day, hoping for the opportunity to continue to make a difference and in a large part it’s down to my parents and for that I thank them.
Never thought I’d stand up in front of 450 people in a Comedy Club and speak (or rant as some kind observer described it), but I did and it felt great after the event. If you’ve got a passion, feel strongly about something or just have a story you’d like to tell I’d suggest you give it a go! Ignite Cardiff is a fantastic event, the crowd is right behind you no matter how you stumble or forget what you want to say. You get to meet some inspiring people who’ve a story to tell and share what you think is important with a captive audience!
Any opportunity to ride a bike and I’ll likely spot it. On occasion this starts something and I’ll have a few people join me. At a small gathering to celebrate Sybil Williams ( of Pedal Power Cardiff fame) award of an MBE, I jokingly said you’ll have to cycle to collect your medal. Sybil’s eyes lit up, others were not so impressed with the idea but that was it, seed planted, I found myself organising a bit of a bike ride. Taking yourself off on a bike ride of a couple of hundred miles is not such a challenge but the logistics when being joined by people of different abilities for different stages was something else. We had 7 weeks notice of the date in October so the prep began. Paper work completed and sent out, hotels booked, routes planned, risk assessments undertaken, friendly CTC people identified along the route and we were off! Tweeting as we went #pedalpowertothepalace
A short account of how and why it all started originaly posted January 2014 http://www.geovation.org.uk/sharing-the-passion-for-an-active-life/
Sharing the passion for an active life
So why do so many of us struggle to lead a lifestyle that’s active enough for our health and well being?
Living without a car and working across Wales means that, for me, an active lifestyle is often a necessity but it is a lifestyle that I’ve chosen.
I need to be outdoors; to be getting places under my own steam, earning the views by cycling up that 1in 4, scrabbling up a scree slope or just walking to work the long way through the parks of Cardiff. It makes me feel alive, helps keep things in perspective and I have my parents to thank.