Last updated on September 13, 2019
Welcome to my first blog! I’m delighted to launch my new website and a massive thanks to Will Seddon at Focus Media for designing it, ace job and a wonderful human being, so thanks!
As I write, it is September 2019 and now 14 months since I won the Commonwealth title. Since then in boxing terms it’s been an extremely frustrating time due to injuries – including two surgeries and a number of injections and procedures. I have been able to train most of the time by finding ways around it, such as training one handed whilst my injured hand was in a sling post-surgery, and then designing a circuit that I could do even whilst on crutches – earning some funny looks in the gym that’s for sure! I’m grateful that I have been able to train, however, having the goals taken away that I had for this year, and not having that purpose every day has been really tough and a massive adjustment. This is where the people around me, and the things I am involved with outside of boxing, have really helped me.
Long periods of injury can feel lonely, so I’m fortunate to have people around me who are positive, who focus on solutions rather than the obstacles, and who maintain belief in me. On days when I have felt really despondent and been low on ‘positive fuel,’ that’s when it has been so important to have people in my life who I think of as positive petrol pumps! People I can go to who refuel me and have the words to keep me upbeat. My coach Blain Younis has been brilliant, always making me feel like a valued part of our team, taking my training sessions seriously even when it’s just been waiting for a surgery, and always helping me believe that I can come back and fight again. Thank you also to my sponsors, especially Sports Tours International and The Running Bee Foundation for their unwavering support despite my rollercoaster year! And of course to my family & friends who are right behind me every step.
Having so many activities outside of boxing has been particularly helpful, nothing is the same as boxing, and nothing fills that void, but it is better to have some things to focus on than nothing at all. In October last year I started presenting a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Manchester, It’s been a great experience, everyone at the station has been so welcoming, friendly and encouraging and it really is a joy to be part of the team. I also had the opportunity to do a mini series for Granada Reports called ‘Paving The Way.’ This was thanks to Mike Hall at ITV, certainly one of the most genuine, professional and nicest guys you could wish to meet and someone I’ve looked up to for a while, so getting to learn from him and work with him was a real privilege. The series involved me interviewing sports women from the North West and again it was a great experience to share their stories and let people know about their achievements!
In addition to that I work in a school three days a week (Parrs Wood High School in Manchester) where I have wonderful colleagues and our students certainly keep us on our toes! I also spend a lot of time now doing public speaking, I have visited many schools and businesses but also last year I got to speak at European Parliament in Brussels and the United Nations in Geneva, both great experiences! And finally there is Pave The Way, it started out as a project for just one week and has now grown over the last two years, so much in fact that we have been working hard the last few months to submit an application to the charity commission to become a registered charity. Huge thanks must go to Robert Nieri of Brabners law firm who has given me such amazing support and assistance with the application, and to our trustees Penny Wardale, Mark Wardale, and Nigel Maitland whose enthusiasm and patience throughout this process has been much appreciated!
Of course with my whole heart I want to box again and I will be sure to do absolutely everything I can to get back to what I love and achieve my dreams in the sport. However, during this time it has been immensely important to have things in my life outside boxing to focus on. At a workshop with the Women’s Sport Trust in May, we talked about athletes having a ‘side hustle.’ Well I would encourage all athletes to consider having interests beyond competing, because injuries are bad enough, but even more destructive when it takes your identity and entire sense of purpose away with it too. Find your side hustle!
Huge thanks to all the people who have given me these opportunities, encouraged me along the way, and who continue to support me no matter what.
I’m looking forward to keeping you up to date with boxing, Pave The Way and everything else and thanks so much for reading, if you’d like to get in touch by all means do so, I’ll be happy to hear from you!
Stace 😊 #pavetheway
(Image at top by Nigel Maitland)