This year sees me as an individual sponsoring Charlie Hart & Beth Lynch at this year’s Henley Literary Festival on Sunday 29th September.
Previously, SJD Events Limited would have sponsored this event and over the past eleven years, I have sponsored many amazing authors, as shown below:
2018 – Kate Humble
2017 – Sir Chris Bonnington
2016 – Harry Parker
2015 – Lieutenant General Sir Barney White Spunner and Virginia McKenna
2014 – Princess Michael of Kent
2013 – Sir Major Michael Parker.
2012 – Sir John Major.
2011 – Craig Brown with Simon Russell Beale and Eleanor Bron. And, An Audience with Wilbur Smith .
2010 – Melvyn Bragg.
2009 – Ben Fogle and James Cracknel.
2008 – Pre-launch evening at The River and Rowing Museum.
At the end of 2018, I took the decision to close the business (SJD Events Ltd) as I had taken a career change and it made sense.
Over the past five years, I have been doing consultancy work in the charity sector for fundraising and events in the Military Sector. During this time, I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing projects with Combat Stress, Coming Home (Haig Housing), There But Not There (Remembered) and Walking With The Wounded.
After my own life changing experiences, with the loss of my father over 15 years ago, the loss of my mother almost five years ago and my own first hand ill health to cancer three years ago, life does change.
Mental Health is something that can touch us all in many different forms and we all have to find the release that works for us. In my case, I enjoy giving back and volunteering at the Royal Marsden Chelsea which saved my life. I also enjoy my garden and walking in the countryside whether walking my sisters dogs or just walking by the river or getting lost in the woods, it’s the fresh air and been at one with nature. Also, I am lucky enough to have a soul mate in that a childhood friend came into my life four years ago and has become my rock and I am very happy as we now embark on a new chapter of our lives.
So, when Harriet of Henley Literary Festival approached me to be involved with the forthcoming festival for 2019, I explained as I always do, that I was looking for someone to sponsor that has an association with my work and mental health was the perfect match. At the moment, I am consulting at Walking With The Wounded a charity that supports Veterans who have served to transition into the community and a lot more (http://www.wwtw.org.uk) and I can’t wait to hear Charlie Hart on his book Skymeadow and Beth Lynch on her book Where the Hornbeams Grow.
There will be others at the festival touching on Mental Health, such as Bryony Gordon who has been very influential over the past few years sharing with everyone her own personal journey.
We all have a personal journey and sometimes it’s not as simple as black and white, it can also be a roller coaster at times but something I have learnt, that sharing is an amazing platform. Whether you talk to a stranger or you write it down and post it. I believe that saying it out loud is the first step to addressing it.
Below is just a little taster of the authors I am going to be sponsoring and if you want to check out Henley Literary Festival, please visit http://www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk
Charlie Hart – Skymeadow: Notes from an English Gardener
In Skymeadow, Charlie seamlessly weaves together his own memoir with that of his garden. The result is a lyrical and incisive story of mental health at an all-time low, the healing powers of digging and, ultimately, a celebration of nature.
Charlie is a gardener and author who writes and speaks about the way in which gardens and nature can rest the mind and heal the soul.
He has written for a wide range of publications including: The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian gardening blog, The Scotsman, Sainsbury’s Magazine, Suffolk Magazine and many other journals and publications.
Beth Lynch – Where the Hornbeams Grow
Image from the Cambridge Independent
WHERE THE HORNBEAM GROWS is a memoir about carrying a garden inwardly through loss, dislocation and relocation, about finding a sense of wellbeing in a green place of your own, and about the limits of paradise in a peopled world. It is a powerful exploration by a dazzling new literary voice of how, in nurturing a corner of the natural world, we ourselves are nurtured.