Q & A With Sue Smith
Tell us about your involvement with O2e so far
It began many years ago when my husband Kevin (Sponge) started cycling to raise money for O2e. He’d been a keen cyclist for many years, raising thousands of pounds for lots of different, mainly high-profile charities, but once we were introduced to O2e by our good friends at the helm, it wasn’t difficult to decide who’d be getting our support from there on in. I did the fundraising, he did the miles! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Walk The World twice and was immensely proud to be made an O2e Ambassador earlier this year.
What has been the most memorable event or challenge you’ve taken part in or supported for O2e?
That would most definitely be Kev and Tim’s Big Bike Ride in 2014. They cycled from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico in 21 days, a total of 2,000 miles with no back-up. Well, actually, I was the back-up! They’d planned their trip meticulously, calculating the distances they’d have to cover each day and pre-booking motels but I was on 24-hour standby back home just in case it didn’t always go to plan. I had a chart on the kitchen wall showing their destinations for each day, motel numbers etc; it was a well-oiled machine!
What I enjoyed most though was the fundraising, every evening they’d email an account of what had happened that day and I transcribed it into a blog on Facebook for the next day. Everyone loved it, so much so that if I was ever late putting it on in the morning, people would call me to see if they were ok and how they were doing! It worked a treat because we raised in excess of £12,000.
What is it about the O2e ethos that resonates with you?
For me, it’s that nothing about the challenge of being ordinary and becoming extraordinary is a competition; one person’s idea of stepping out of their comfort zone may be a 5k walk round the park and that’s ok; another might need to cycle 100 miles before lunch to push themselves and of course that’s ok too. Everyone that supports O2e is different and each of them is made to feel proud of their own achievement; it’s quite unique.
How can people get involved in O2e and why do you think they should?
O2e is the perfect organisation to embrace if you want to do something for yourself AND for others; there’s nothing quite like giving yourself a challenge to boost your confidence and that feeling you get when you know you’re helping make a difference to so many children in need is second to none. Everyone should give it a go some time – chat to an O2e Ambassador any time and they’ll soon convince you! Visiting one of the nominated charities on an Open Days is also an excellent way to meet the team and see what makes O2e so special.
Finally, tell us about your next event that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary?
Well, on September 1st, I’m heading to the Peak District with my oldest friend to take part in our first big challenge for O2e. Sharon has heard me talk about O2e over the years and has always supported Kev and I but this time, she suggested we get out there and do something for them together. TrekFest is a great event – two to choose from every year, the Beacons in June and Peak District in September and you can nominate your own chosen charity. I have opted for the 25k in one day which might not seem much but it is huge for me and Sharon is going for an epic 50k, taking in Kinder Scout along the way. Despite the blisters, training is going well and our Just Giving page is just short of £1,800 as I type; hopefully we’ll reach £2,000. Watch this space!