Alison Allmand-Smith is about to embark on an epic adventure to the Arctic Circle to fundraise for Reading Force – WOW! We’d like to say a very BIG thank you to Alison! In this blog she talks about why she’s going on this survival expedition and why Reading Force is close to her heart…
Hello, on 6th March I’m setting off to Kiruna in the Arctic Circle to raise money for Reading Force. The expedition has been organised by a group of former Elite British and Swedish soldiers, headed up by Military Cross holder Steve Heaney of adventure and survival company X Platoon.
As well as revelling in the exquisite beauty and remoteness of one of the last true wildernesses of the world, I will be learning how to survive in extremely cold conditions. And with temperatures ranging anywhere from -10 to -35, the week is definitely going to be challenging!
Why am I doing this fundraiser? Five years ago my husband and I decided we wanted to support our amazing military families, and when we discovered the shared reading initiative Reading Force, we knew this was the charity we wanted to get behind. Since then we have helped fund their book buying to enable them to send books to military families. In our own family we are passionate readers – we have read millions of books between us! – and the concept of sharing, chatting and scrapbooking about books as a way to stay connected and to communicate well through both the good and bad times really chimed with us.
As a child I loved to read. One of my favourite things was hunting through the bags of hand me down books from friends and read them in the attic. I’ve particularly fond memories of stories about genies and magic carpets, pixies and elves, brave & daring bible characters and mystery and espionage.
My father worked away from home sometimes too and when he returned from his travels he would almost always bring me a book. Over the years it’s been hugely beneficial to spend many an hour discussing and laughing about what we’ve read, not just my father and I, but the whole extended family!
There aren’t many things you can’t learn if you can read. We live in an extraordinary world with so many things to learn about, so many amazing places to visit; a thousand adventures to have. So often, reading can create that spark that leads to a passion for life and exploration and an empathy and understanding of the experiences of others.
And to give books to help Forces families manage separation anxiety when one or both parents are deployed away from home, and to share their enjoyment and experiences of the books, is a simple but genius idea. Families overwhelmingly report this shared reading helps to keep them close, it helps them to re-connect.
I’m delighted to be able to support Reading Force and military children and families in this way, and I would be so thankful if you could support them too by donating towards their work, and getting more books to more children. Even small amounts accumulate to yield excellent results!
Right, I’m off to do more training now!
All thoughts and prayers gratefully received!!!
P.S. Every penny donated will go to Reading Force – I am covering all the costs of the trip.