The Conclusion of My Great North Swim

Tracey Smith, author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas in The British Gas Great North Swim at Lake Windermere
A bit of a clingy number, I grant you

Not the most fetching of outfits I know, but here’s me in my neoprene wetsuit, getting ready to depart for Lake Windermere to take part in the second Great North Swim.

It was the inaugural GNS at Windermere that took place last September that first hooked me in.

In 2008, around 2,000 competitors swam a mile around the edge of the stunning lake, many raising money for charity and others simply doing it for personal achievement.

Continue reading “The Conclusion of My Great North Swim”

Author Tackles Great North Swim for Children of Alcoholics

Would You Like To Sponsor My Wetsuit? (that'll be an attractive little number...)
Would You Like To Sponsor My Wetsuit? (that'll be an attractive little number...)

Morning all!

Just a shortie to bring you a pressing news item from my local paper.

Please find the following article by Joanna Davis printed in today’s Dorset Echo.

A DAUGHTER of an alcoholic will be taking the plunge into Lake Windermere to help the children of addicts.

Busy mum-of-three, author and broadcaster Tracey Smith will swim a mile at the beauty spot on September 12 as part of the Great North Swim.

She plans to raise £18,000 for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) to mark the charity’s 18,000 phone calls it has fielded from troubled children of alcoholics.

Thorncombe resident Tracey, 43, wishes the charity was around while she was growing up.

Tracey said she has only felt ready to talk about her mum’s alcoholism since she died three and a half years ago.

She said: “People seem to hide it under the carpet and don’t talk about it.

“I wish I had NACOA when I was a young thing.

“I couldn’t see an end to my darkness and I took an overdose at the age of 11.

“I remember waking up the morning after in a white bed in a white walled hospital room feeling so relieved and thinking I was in heaven.

Continue reading “Author Tackles Great North Swim for Children of Alcoholics”

Comic Relief Plunges Children of Alcoholics into a Welcome Spotlight

bw11Friday the 13th March will certainly be lucky for some, especially a tiny Bristol based charity called Nacoa.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics have been around for 19 years and calls to their helpline have grown steadily over the years; in 2007 18k, in 2008 36k.

Comic Relief are about to give them a welcome boost of publicity when they air the short film shot in their volunteer helpline room this coming Friday night.

Viewers will hear from Emma Spiegler, a Nacoa Trustee, founder of COAP and once the child of an alcoholic mother (now thankfully now in recovery and doing well). But Emma’s story wasn’t always so happy. She faced many of the typical problems experienced by thousands of children of alcohol dependent parents and often felt very isolated, at times shrouded with guilt that she had somehow been responsible for her mothers drinking, until she found Nacoa.

Hilary Henriques, the charity co-founder is also featured in the film and interviewed in this weeks Radio Times on page 22. She talks reveals the shocking truth about many of the callers to Nacoa, some as young as 7 years old.

Continue reading “Comic Relief Plunges Children of Alcoholics into a Welcome Spotlight”

Celebrities Speak Out for Children of Alcoholics

Being a child of an alcoholic is rubbish...
Being a child of an alcoholic can be rubbish...

STOP PRESS:  Tuesday 10th February – I’ll be on BBC Somerset just after the 11am news talking about COA Week.  Tune in on www.BBC.co.uk/somerset

What do Elle Macpherson, Geraldine James, Marco Pierre White, Belinda Carlisle, Lauren Booth and Abi Roberts  all have in common?

They are uniting to raise awareness of the inaugural Children of Alcoholics Week, (COA Week) which takes place between the 8th and 14th February 2009.

The event was created by myself and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers at Bristol based charity The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa).  They run a vital helpline and website for the estimated 3.6 million young and adult children of alcohol-dependent parents in the UK, many of whom live in confusion and isolation.

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Each One Really Does Count!

A fundraising recycling company
A fundraising recycling company

I’m heading up to the big smoke on Monday, by train of course, to meet the guys at Each One Counts.

They run an on-line collection programme for mobile phones and ink jet cartridges and re-manufacture new cartridges for resale.

They also work in conjunction with a collective of charities including Battersea Dog and Cats Home, Cambodia Trust, The Children’s Foundation and The Woodland Trust, encouraging each of them to raise awareness of the EOC scheme and in return they give them a share of the revenue raised.

Around 700 million cartridges were thrown away worldwide in 2003 and this has risen year on year since. The recovery and reuse of toner and inkjet cartridges reduces landfill by millions of cubic feet of non-biodegradable material.  Each discarded empty laser printer cartridge adds approximately 1.5kgs of unnecessary waste. Continue reading “Each One Really Does Count!”

Happy New Merry and The Great North Swim

Doing a little 'wild swimming' with my friends
Doing a little 'wild swimming' with my friends

A-ha!

We’re here!

Happy New Year and all that associated malarkey 8) .

I hope your Christmas break was filled with thoughts about how you could be more resourceful with the rubbish you found yourself wading through.  If like me, you managed to miss the bin men, you’re probably still harbouring a stack of recycling for the good truck and a couple of bags of rubbish film and irritating plastic for the bad truck – boy that stuff annoys me.

I’ve had a tremendous break away from all things with plugs on, including computers and it has done me the world of good, but for the latter part of the holiday, I found myself itching to grab a pen and paper and have been merrily scribbling my rubbish thoughts for the blog and for the new book too!  It’s just all too exciting!

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This ‘Woman’s Hour’ Has Arrived!

jenni-murray
Jenni Murray from BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour

Dearest all, I’m in London and currently looking out of a window onto the world and the clock is ticking along, getting ever closer to 1am – eek!

I had a call late yesterday from Radio 4 (as you do) asking if I could just whip up to Town and go do Woman’s Hour?  Well, as you know, I’m not a girl to shy away from a bit of media, so I grabbed the opportunity to chinwag with the iconic Jenni Murray in a heartbeat!

The only trouble was/is, I have to be in the studio at 8am and the current laws of physics won’t allow for me to get up there from my neck of the woods with time to spare and as the Tardis is in for a service and MOT, I thought it best if I come up the night before.

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What a Rubbish Childhood

lauren-booth
Lauren Booth - Key note speaker at the David Stafford Memorial Lecture tonight

Please indulge me breaking off the usual line today, but I want to tell you what I’m up to tonight.  And anyway, it certainly connects to my Book of Rubbish Ideas, because for every single copy that’s bought, I’m making a donation to an amazing charity called NACOA.

They are perhaps easier remembered as The National Association for Children of Alcoholics and tonight they are having an annual memorial lecture in London to celebrate the life and work of one of their founding members, David Stafford. Continue reading “What a Rubbish Childhood”

You’re Helping to Keep the Glass Half Full


www.nacoa.org.uk
www.nacoa.org.uk

NACOA is a fabulous little charity, but one that you might not have come across before.

The abbreviation stands for The National Association for Children of Alcoholics and it has a very dear place in my heart.

I am a child of an alcoholic (COA) and some of my earliest childhood memories are of mum drinking and of the resulting chaos it often caused.

She died just over 2 years ago to the illness and lay dead on the floor of her flat for about a week before she was found.  It was about as grim as it could ever be, but compounded by the fact that she probably died on my 40th birthday and/or Mothers Day – how ironic. Continue reading “You’re Helping to Keep the Glass Half Full”

A Bit About the Author

Tracey Smith is just an everyday gal, a wife, a mum and a very proud downshifter. “I’ve a passion for writing and I love spreading the word about simple, green and sustainable living…to a fault sometimes.”

Tracey Smith

But before I get to that, thanks for wanting to look!

There’s not much to say here really – I’m nothing special – just an everyday gal, a wife, a mum and a very proud downshifter. I’ve a passion for writing and I love spreading the word about simple, green and sustainable living…to a fault sometimes.

I’ve been in the doghouse on more than one occasion for putting my ‘work head’ on and going off on one about some green issue or other, when I really shouldn’t have, but I can’t help it. The other week, I was milling around Bridport with my husband and there was a stand outside the Art’s Centre with a very nice man from Recycle Now and another from West Dorset’s recycling department. I was dragged away, politely (ish) by Ray who reminded me that it was actually our wedding anniversary and asked me nicely if I could, ‘Just shut up for a bit’.

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