Tuesday, 28 July 2009

'Unexpected Outcomes' and I will make you a personalised motivational fridge magnet!

I've had some unexpected outcomes!

I initially thought that writing 'Shared Experiences' was a very enriching experience, but I now think marketing it is equally so. Mainly because I am constantly amazed at how much effort my friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances are putting into spreading the word. I feel constantly humbled by their efforts. Today my friend Angela B forwarded me an email that she had sent to her mates and she has also offered to help with a major piece of fund raising later on in the year. It's so kind of her to put in so much effort in and I'm so grateful to her and everyone who has said 'yes' to buying a copy, have forwarded my link on, or have put one of my posters up on a notice-board somewhere. It feels like team-work so thank you. I hope you know that you really are helping to raise funds for Reach and children like Erin above, will benefit tremendously from your kindness .

Well I'm now a 'one woman road show' and last night I attended a Heathrow Rotary Club meeting as their 'after dinner' speaker. It's quite nice being an after dinner speaker - you get a great big fat cigar, a large brandy and you get to tell filthy jokes. I told a spectaculaly filthy joke about a doctor, his paient and a pair of under-pants........

However not last night, and not at Heathrow Rotary Club, who meet regularly at the Thistle Hotel, Longford and have a very civilised dinner before the meeting. We ate in the restaurant on the top floor with a terrace with the most amazing view of Terminal Five and the Northern run way. If you are an aviation enthusiast (or an anorak as I prefer to call you) then you must go and have a meal there. It's Heathrow's best kept secret. Well it was, but now I've told you!

Back to my evening with the Heathrow Rotarians. They are a lovely bunch of people (I've now made them sound like bananas) but they desperately need new members and you don't have to work at Heathrow to join. Let me know if you're interested and I'll email you th secretary's details.

They made me very welcome and I spoke to them for about 40 minutes about Reach and 'Shared Experiences'. Afterwards the President told us about her own grandmother who had grown up without an arm, went to Cambridge, drove a Rolls Royce and was partial to sawing branches off tress whist sitting on them.Clearly people with missing limbs are made of sterner stuff than other mere mortals!

The unexpected outcome was that Gillian, the president of Heathrow Rotary is very well connected to the Royal College of Midwives and is going to forward details to her associates. So another door opened. I'm delighted.

So I am now even more convinced that we attract whatever we focus on. If we think negative thoughts, we effectively draw them in, but equally if we think positive thoughts we draw them in too.

For the last few months I have been thinking very positive thoughts about how I am going to market 'shared Experiences and it's BLOODY working! I think the secret is to visualise what you want to achieve and go for it.

Reprogramming your thinking isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight, but it is possible. So go for it! Think those positive thoughts and please let me know if you want me to if you want make a personaised motivational fridge magnet for you!

Thanks for reading this and following me on the Blogosphere

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Charlotte's thoughts on sales, cycle rides & other outcomes!

Thank you for looking at my 'Shared Experiences' blog which I have created to keep 'Shared Experiences' supporters up to date on where we are on the road to publication.

I appreciate all the interest and support expressed and demonstrated, as every copy sold makes money for Reach. During difficult and uncertain financial times small charities work hard to raise money so hopefully Shared Experiences will provide a steady income stream over the next few years. More about what Reach does with its donations in future blogs

Anyhow back to money - last night in the canteen at work, someone asked me about how much I would make from the sales. It was a well meant question because my colleague clearly thought I would have to be nuts to spent three years writing a book without payment! BUT please be assured this is my voluntary work. I am doing this for FREE.

I'm not on a percentage, so by buying a copy you are not paying for my next cruise!

There are of course other rewards. For example the sense of achievement and satisfaction of seeing something that started as a small idea becoming a stomping reality, but most of all my reward is the emails I have received from parents of children with visible deficiencies, some who contributed and many who didn't. That's really all the feedback I need. So if this book helps new parents through some dark days then how wonderful is that. And if you buy it because you are interested in other peoples' life experiences how wonderful are you - thank you.

A some what unexpected outcome is the increased level of interest this book has prompted in Reach http://www.reach.org.uk/

Now. I'm not a not a trustee of Reach - I am just a member, so please note whatever I say about Reach in these pages are my thoughts about the charity and I'm not expressing official views. I have to say that in case I inadvertently say something horribly controversial!

Back to the increased interest in Reach. Since I have been openly promoting Shared Experiences and talking to friends and colleagues about it, two of my colleagues are going to raise money for Reach on the Plymouth to Banjul rally (this will be covered in a future blog because it's a great story). Plus one of my friends is considering doing a cycle ride around Iceland (the country not the shop!) I cannot begin to describe how good it feels to engender such interest. I must have missed my true vocation selling replacement windows!

So please log into my blog from time to time. I somehow feel comforted knowing we're all hanging out together in cyber space!

woman on a mission

Please consider doing your 'on line' shopping via the attached link. It won't cost you an extra penny, but the retailers will give a percentage to Reach. Isn't that great? Thank you so much, for even thinking about it. www.easyfundraising.org.uk/reach

Message from Gary Phillips - Chairman of Reach

"As a charity supporting families of children with disabilities, we know how important it is for parents to feel that they are not alone in their situation. Charlotte's book provides that reassurance through the many experiences she has gathered here. It is an amazing read and will appeal to anyone, whether they are professionally or personally touched by disability or just interested in other's life experiences."

Gary Phillips Chairman of Reach - June 2009

To order pre-order your copy send an email to; shared_experiences@reach.org.uk


Gary is a Reach parent, father to Matthew and Thomas. The family joined Reach when Matthew was born with an arm deficiency, which was found on the 20 week pregnancy scan. Since joining Reach in 2000 they have regularly attended events organised by their local branch Wessex as well as the Family AGM Weekends.
He is responsible for starting the leadership weekends, to provide suitable leaders for the activity week and other events. He works for a large public sector organisation in IT and has considerable experience in working with young people, organising adventure activity trips for 10 – 18 year olds and running several cadet units in St John Ambulance. He was also instrumental in putting together Reach child protection policies and the new website.
Gary wants to ensure that Reach is fit for the 21st century and with the development of the 5 year plan looks forward to working with the members to ensure Reach is around for another 30 years. He can be contacted on chairman@reach.org.uk

Friday, 24 July 2009

Frank Shapiro - Coach and Author

'A touching account that pulls no punches by saying what needs to be said regarding the fears of children and parents of children with upper limb deficiencies. Charlotte clearly displays an understanding of this topic and provides parents who find themselves worried about the future of a child with answers to questions that they might have. Her ‘cup half full’ approach is clear by the way she concentrates on the ability of the child when some may be stuck on the disability. By writing this book, Charlotte has given parents and children alike what they most need, reassurance.'

Frank Shapiro – Coach and Author


A note from Charlotte

Frank Shapiro is a Life Coach, Broadcaster, Freelance Writer, and Public Speaker. I met him on the Ventura. I attended his talk on 'personal passion' which was exceptional and at that point I realised that writing 'Shared Experiences' was my personal passion and not just my hobby.

The next day I started talking to Frank in the cyber-cafe and he is such an uplifing guy. The type of person who you want to stand next to for ages, so that some of his qualities rub off on you! Frank and I have become e-pals and there is a chance that if he is in the country, he will come along as an 'after dinner speaker' for a fundraiser I want to hold for Reach in 2010. If so, make you buy a ticket because he's good and you'll come away buzzing with enthusiasm.

Frank specializes in coaching High Profile people such as Models, Actors, Entertainers, and Celebrities, as well as Entrepreneurs and Professionals. Frank helps them discover how to achieve their career and personal goals, resulting in a more balanced life. Frank has a vast amount of experience in public speaking. He speaks on all subjects relating to health/well being and is available for workshops and seminars. Subjects covered also include personal development and business topics.

During Frank's 20 years of coaching, he has enabled scores of people to bring out the very best in themselves. His coaching background includes extensive corporate experience, where the emphasis has always been on the personal best of the individual, for the ultimate benefit of the entire organization.

Frank is especially interested now in the needs of the creative person, which stems from his association with an Entertainment Management company where he looks after artists, songwriters and producers. Subsequently, he has taken on the role of personal manager for a select group of this company’s clients, helping them to focus on achieving their individual career and personal goals.

Based on his experience as a coach, Frank believes that in order to be at your best, you need to be happy not only with your work but with your personal life as well. He also believes that his coaching works best for the person who feels they have a substantial gap between where they are now and where they want to be. In fact, he believes the wider the gap, the faster the results.

Frank has been professionally trained as a coach with Coach University. He is also a member of the International Coaching Federation and adheres to its pledge of standards, practices and ethics.

Adam Afriyie's review

Adam Afriyie MP for Windsor said;

'‘Charlotte’s personal determination and commitment to reach out to others affected by limb deficiency is overwhelming and this book is a wonderful testament to all her hard work.
Readers will be left humbled by the experiences of the contributors.

It is only through a publication like this that the veil can be lifted, from those unaffected, to glimpse into the lives of those with limb deficiency.

It is reassuring to know that there are people like Charlotte around, who are willing to listen, support and share their experience with parents who are faced with the shocking news that their child will have to face the challenge of limb deficiency.

When I first met Charlotte I was struck by her energy, optimism and drive and she has my very best wishes.’

July 2009

House of Commons:
Westminster, London, SW1A OAA

Windsor Conservative Association:
87 St. Leonards Rd, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 3BZ
Charlotte's notes
If you live in Windsor vote for Adam! He is the most sincerest of men and has a genuine interest in what his constituents are up to. I'm always struck by his natural ability to pick on up on threds of conversation from months before. He has a natural interest in people.
More notes from Adam's impressive CV
Adam has a gained a broad experience with service on parliamentary Select and Standing Committees to appointments ranging from policy development to party spokesperson:
Shadow Minister for Innovation, Universities & Skills - focussing on Science and Innovation. 2007.
Conservative Parliamentary Leader for TMT - Technology, Media and Telecoms. 2006.
Member of the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group, co-chaired by John Redwood and Simon Wolfson. 2006.
Chairman of the Deregulation Task Force. 2006.
Science & Technology Select Committee. 2005.
Finance Bill Standing Committee. 2007.
Welfare Reform Bill Standing Committee. 2006.
Lottery Bill Standing Committee. 2006.
Civil Aviation Bill Standing Committee. 2005.

Born in Wimbledon in 1965 to a white English mother and a black Ghanaian father, he attended former grammar school Addey & Stanhope in New Cross and went on to gain a BSc in Agricultural Economics from Imperial College (Wye) London University.
Living in Israel and visiting Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Holland, Denmark and Sweden in his gap year, his appetite for travel has not diminished over the years.
Sport has also played an important role and since captaining the basketball team at university Adam has remained a keen distance and charity runner and health and fitness amateur.
Over the last 30 years his sports have included cycling, tennis, badminton and skiing, but since a knee and foot operation activities have been somewhat restricted.
BusinessAdam’s business experience is well recognized. He was a regional finalist in the 2003 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year awards, and in 2005 he sold his controlling interest in DeHavilland Information Services to EMAP plc.

He is also non-executive Chairman of Adfero Ltd - a news and information services company - and past appointments have included Governor of the Museum of London, Trustee of the Museum in Docklands and a director of Policy Exchange, the centre-right think tank.
As Patron of Berkshire Young Enterprise, Adam is keen to encourage teenagers to recognise their business skills as early as possible.

Having joined the Party in 1990, Adam is an experienced Conservative activist. During his time he has stuffed envelopes, delivered leaflets, surveyed, door-knocked and canvassed, run supporters clubs, chaired branches and spoken at conference on several occasions..
Selected as the candidate on 3rd October 2003, Adam was elected to Parliament as the MP for Windsor on 5th May 2005 with:- An increased share of the vote of 49.5%- An increased majority of 10,292- A swing against the LibDems of 1.2%

Cerrie Burnell's review

Cerrie Burnell, CBeebies Presenter wrote;

'A collection of experiences that take you on a journey of discovery, spanning decades, cultures and attitudes, in society and the medical profession. These stories are shocking, saddening, funny, inspiring and captivating. A brilliant realisation of life with one hand.'

Note from Charlotte

Many of you will recall that in February 2009, Cerrie shot into the headlines when a small number of parents complained that Cerrie CBeebies, children's TV presenter with one hand appearance was prompting awkward questions from young children.

So how should you explain this kind of disability to a child? No-one comes up with wrong-footing questions quite like a young child. And young, curious minds don't hesitate to point out differences in people they see around them. So when the BBC's children's channel CBeebies employed presenter Cerrie Burnell, who was born with only one hand, her appearance on television screens prompted a debate among parents about what they say to their children.

Online message boards on CBeebies and the BBC's disability magazine Ouch! were brimming with support for the employment of a person with a disability, and the way this educated children about diversity.
But a minority of parents expressed concern that Ms Burnell's appearance was "scaring" children. One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt.

Ms Burnell, 29, says she doesn't take this personally but these kind of comments highlight the prejudice that disabled people face.


Professor Simon Kay says -The surgery of congenital abnormalities of the hand is challenging and intricate, and this field attracts some of the most skilled and capable surgeons in the world. But, in treating children with such conditions, too few surgeons recognize that they are treating the child, the parents and the family. In fact, they are also treating someone who is not yet present: the future adult. To recognize that they are not simply treating an anatomical abnormality but a large intertwined group of people is difficult for some surgeons, and so this book should be compulsory reading. In fact it should be compulsory for all health care professionals interacting with children with congenital differences, and their families, because it will enable them to hear, and what they hear from the experiences in this book will remind them that the surgery is not the most important part of what they do. It should also teach lessons in courage and duty that will humble many.


Simon Kay, is Professor of Hand Surgery at the University of Leeds and a consultant Hand and Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon at the Leeds Teaching Hospital, UK. Simon is also a Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of UmeƤ, Sweden. He has developed one of the largest children's hand surgery services in the UK and has focused on microsurgery in reconstruction of congenital defects of children's hands. His research also includes brachial plexus surgery and nerve repair. He co-edited the world's major textbook in children's hand surgery, The Growing Hand. He led the first series of comprehensive syllabus based European instructional courses in hand surgery. He was the President of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand in 2007 and is president elect of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

Alexa Tewkesbury's review

Award winning writer Alexa Tewkesbury writes - Been very busy and among other things have just edited a book called Shared Experiences written for parents and relatives of children with upper limb deficiency. The book has been produced in conjunction with REACH, a charity set up to provide advice and support for those affected in any way by upper limb deficiency. Author, Charlotte Fielder, has painstakingly brought together true stories, reflections and observations from parents bringing up upper limb deficient children - and they make amazing reading. When you have a visibly different child, it's not just about coping with your own emotions and the practicalities of life. It's about dealing with other people's reactions, too. Sad to say, many of the recorded experiences aren't good. Then again, many have found things far easier than they ever thought they would, and the humour both parents and children have been able to apply to their situations is definitely up-lifting. This isn't a book weighed down with full-on emotional trauma or heavy-weight psychology. Reading it is a lot like sitting down over a cup of coffee and having a chat with Charlotte herself. It's friendly and accessible - and where she shares any personal thoughts, it's safe to say Charlotte knows exactly what she's talking about. She herself was born with an upper limb deficiency. As she says in the book, she's been through it all, and the warmth and generosity of her personality shine through as she recounts, sometimes with startling honesty, what it's like to grow up with a visible difference in a world where tolerance for such things can at times be harshly sparse. Whether, you're affected by the issues or not, Shared Experiences is an informative, eye-opening and, at times, delightfully funny read.

Note from Charlotte

I adore Alexa. Not only is she an award-winning writer of many books for children, as well as an editor, proof reader, copywriter, story teller and voiceover artist, working with publishers, designers and film makers nationwide but she is also a genuinely lovely person and I would thorougly recommend her as an editor.

Based in the UK, Alexa works on a freelance basis and will undertake all types of writing commissions, such as corporate literature, advertising copy, website text and magazine articles.
She also offers services as an editor and proof reader, allowing you to make the most of your written words.

If your project needs a voice, Alexa’s skills as a voiceover artist and story teller embrace a range of vocal skills, styles and accents. Whether for advertisements, films, telephone message recordings or websites, Alexa will work with you to achieve the sound and delivery you are seeking.

Whatever you want to say, Alexa will help you say it precisely and professionally – because, after all… words matter.

Look her up on www.alexatewkesbury.com/