A chance meeting can trigger heart warming consequences
I have long admired Zoe’s commitment to attending Chesterfield matches, both home and away. She is a warm and friendly person who is well liked and respected by all that really know her.
The emergence of Social Media (especially Facebook) has given Zoe the opportunity to overcome her severe speech problem…and to show the world how bright, intelligent, funny and determined she is. I have learned that it may take Zoe up to an hour to force her disobedient arm to write the shortest of sentences. It is both remarkable and humbling to see her wriggling her thumb through a special keyboard filter to choose her words. A short sentence can take up to an hour but Zoe does this without compliant; carrying out the task of communicating with determination in her eyes and a genuine smile on her face.
This is one of the best aspects of Social Media. Despite the criticism that this new obsession gets, Facebook gives Zoe her voice and a platform to ensure people know the depth of her personality and her intelligence. Zoe’s body may misbehave but her mind is razor sharp and her personality is a happy one. Zoe loves her life and is truly grateful for what she has.
Early in June 2016, my wife and I attended a charity event at the home of Chesterfield FC, The Proact Stadium
After the event, we were waiting for a taxi to take us home. 30 minutes time had passed and it appears we have been overlooked by our chosen taxi firm. As we stood in the drizzling rain, Zoe passed with her parents Dillis and Mick. The three of them kindly offered us a lift home to Clowne.
On the 25 minute journey home, I settled into a seat beside Zoe. I had said hello to Zoe a few times at matches but I had never had a proper chat with her. With the help of translation form her dad Mick, Zoe asked me what I did for work. I explained that I did marketing and some video work. Zoe immediately picked up on this and said she needed a video for a secret project. I said I would happily help if I could and encouraged her to message me about what she needed on Facebook. Zoe is a prolific user of Facebook and I knew she could communicate with me this way.
The next day, I received a long message from Zoe. It literally took my breath away.
I was both moved, inspired and humbled. In the message, Zoe explained her disability, her previous sporting medals and her secret project. I immediately wanted to be part of the team that Zoe needed to help bring her secret project to life.
On 22nd June 2016, I invited Zoe to present her project at the superb Hotel Van Dyk and our Unique Network gathering. Zoe prepared a speech about her secret project and I read it out on her behalf.
The secret project has several aspects but a key part of it is that Zoe wants to be a model. As part of this dream, Zoe wants to produce a calendar that shows her posing in various positions.
Raising funds for these two charities is Zoe’s real objective and where the true passion behind the project resides. However, she also wants to show that her disability does not always get in the way of accomplishing life goals.
As I stood in front of a maximum capacity of 80 people at our Unique Network gathering and read out Zoe’s speech for her, I hoped for a positive response to Zoe’s secret project and that some of my members would want to help. I was not wrong about the desire to help but even I was overwhelmed with the positive response we enjoyed.
Please read below those people that stepped forward with their willingness and desire to help.
- Sheffield Sharks basketball Captain, Mike Tuck and Boxer Navid Mansouri immediately offered their help for special photographs.
- Designer Richard Dane agreed to design Zoe’s special calendar
- Nikki Clifford of NJUK agreed to do Hair & Design for one photo shoot
- Deon Jacobs donated back a £250 Food & Drink voucher that he won from Hotel Van Dyk
- Rachel Egley offered her children’s entertainment services free of charge to raise funds
- Wendy Majhen offered her Counselling Services as a fundraising tool
- The Sheffield Sharks Basketball CEO Sarah Backovic invited Zoe as her VIP Guest and agreed she could fundraise at the game
- Fiona Stubbs, the Editor of Pure Magazine, said she would write an editorial about Zoe’s project
- Elastic FM, Clowne’s Community Radio Station said they provide ongoing coverage of Zoe’s project
- Hotel Van Dyk said they would consider helping in any way they could
I write this Blog not for personal praise or recognition (those who know me well will confirm I am not into that) but as genuine thanks to Zoe and some of my good hearted Unique Network members for their kind support.
If you read this want to be part of Zoe’s team of helpers, please email me via firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to listen to more about Zoe, please find below an interview I did with her…and her mum and dad, Dillis & Mick .
Where might you have found yourself?
49 years ago, whatever planet earth power or godlike force that prevails placed me here in England. I was born as the child of caring and responsible parents. As a consequence, I had half a chance of a decent life. However, I could just as easily have been born into a third world country, with no fresh water, no food and no life prospects.
Despite the fact research shows there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, our planet will never figure out how to distribute it. If I lived in a third world country, therefore, I would want to get my kids to food, water, safety and the chance of life. And I’d die trying.
Sadly, there is sometimes a very harsh attitude towards the good hearted people who want to reach our shores. I harbour the same fears as everyone about terrorism. However, some of todays best and most skilled Doctors were once immigrants. In fact, I owe my eyesight to one such wonderful Doctor.
There is a much bigger picture at play than many of us pause to realise. But by the grace of god I say!
David Lilley 16th June 2016
How does it make you feel?
Thought for the day.
“One day, this reality will overwhelm you! If it doesn’t make you feel warm inside, if you cannot enjoy sharing it with others, if it doesn’t make the people in your life smile, whatever “it” is you’re doing, you should perhaps stop”
David Lilley June 2016
How To Book Safe & Great Value Holidays
The Internet has changed the way we book our holidays. Many of us spend literally hours searching various websites, reading reviews on the likes of Trip Advisor and hoping we can get the great quality holiday that is essential to most families.
On the 7th April 2016, I had the pleasure of speaking to Travel Expert, Jackie Frith.
Jackie is a Unique Network Member. She has worked as in travel for over 30 years. My interview revealed how people can benefit from Jackie’s expertise for no up front cost.
Listen to the short telephone interview that we held with Jackie. You will learn out how you can source great value and protected holidays ….and save yourself a huge amount of precious time.
Next Unique Network event to be held at The Superb Hotel Van Dyk
Hotel Van Dyk is just 3 miles from Junction 30 of the M1 Motorway on the road to Worksop.
Our event is being held on Wednesday 22nd June 2016. The event starts at 1930.
As usual, there will be two engaging speeches. We have confirmed Author Jay Allen and are still tying down an equally inspiring second speaker. Delegates will also enjoy a high quality two course buffet.
There will be exciting opportunities to network and a modest cost of only £10 for members and £13 for non members.
A dedicated booking page will be set up next week – week commencing 11th April 2016
The Hotel Van Dyk is a luxury 4 star, 1 Rosette hotel situated in the beautiful and picturesque county of Derbyshire, within a short driving distance to the marvel which is the Peak District and local historic town of Chesterfield which boasts the Crooked Spire. Whether the reason for your visit to the area being for business, leisure, a wedding or special occasion, the Hotel Van Dyk is the ideal venue for you to consider.
- 15 individually designed en-suite bedrooms, equipped with complimentary WI-FI Internet access and quality furniture and fittings.
- 4 versatile conference spaces with a maximum capacity for up to 200 delegates.
- The “Bowden Restaurant” recently awarded one Rosette offers an elegant dining experience and atmosphere accompanied by fine cuisine. The Bowden is open Friday & Saturday from 6.30pm, Sunday 12noon – 4.00pm
- The “The Grill Room” offers a brasserie style cuisine within a modern and contemporary atmosphere for the more informal dining experience. “The Grill Room” is open Monday to Saturday from 12.00pm – 9.30pm and Sunday’s from 12.00pm – 5.00pm
My 5 Week Weight Loss Challenge
With 25,000 + miles per year in a car, trains, planes and dozens of hotel nights, it is very easy to slip into bad habits.
I have always recognised this challenge and so, for more than 10 years, I have kept a decent gym at home. My theory is if I can burn off several hundreds calories 5 days a week in the gym, I will be able to maintain a sensible weight.
My issue this year is I developed a bad lower back. This was debilitating and kept me out of the gym for over three months. The result is I have piled on about 1.5 stones. This weight needs to go. I feel rubbish and look even worse. When my starting point is a rugged, ugly bloke, I cannot afford to penalise myself further.
And so, my weight loss challenge starts today. I will lose at least 1.5 stone in 5 weeks. I plan to use the 5+2 plan. This will see me eat little or nothing on two days of the week and no more than 800 calories on the other days.
I am using the picture of me in the light suit because I was a trim 16.5 stone then. I still own the suit and plan to wear it for a business meeting again this year.
I have set up a Facebook Group for people who want to follow my progress and video diary. I welcome Nutrition & Fitness experts offering comments and advice on my efforts.
If you want to follow me, click here and I will add you to the group. Here is to a trimmer, healthier me.
The Unique Network adopts The Child Foundation
The Unique Network is pleased to adopt The Child Foundation as its favoured charity.
Commenting on this decision, Managing Director of The Unique Network, David Lilley said:
‘As a founding Director & a Trustee of The Child Foundation, it’s only logical that The Unique Network should support the charity. Myself and my fellow Director Karen Child will do all we can to spread the name and the good work of The Child Foundation’
Formed in 2014, The Child Foundation has helped several families and children with a variety of challenging situations and fundraising efforts.
The video below provides an insight into the work of The Child Foundation.
Feedback after the first Unique Network Dinner – 5th April 2013
“A wonderful evening”
“Not just a networking event, so much more”
“Please let us know when your next event take place”
The Unique Network intends to be “unique” in the events that we want to bring to our members and we certainly achieved that on our first event at Barrett’s Bistro in Sheffield on the 5th April 2013.
The evening commenced with all the attendees having their photographs taken and these are now available for you to order free of charge through our website.
We sought to offer great service, exceptional food and warm company. Positive feedback states we most certainly achieved this.
Our host and resident Chef James Barrett exceeded all expectations with a menu that included Wood Pigeon, Confit Pork Belly and Chocolate Fondant just to name a few of the delightful dishes our guests could choose from.
“We wanted to get away from the traditional meat and two veg’s that are normally served at these kind of events” said David Lilley one of The Unique Network’s founders.
The highlight of the evening was Richard McCann, author of Best Selling Book Just a Boy.
No one ever said that life would be easy, and Richard McCann certainly knows a thing or two about adversity. On a cold and misty morning in October 1975, Richard, aged 5 woke up to discover that his mother was gone. She was the first victim of the notorious Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. His first reaction, even at such an early age, was to think about how he could improve his situation. He couldn’t bring his mother back but he could decide how to look differently at what life had thrown at him. The series of steps that took Richard from where he was as a frightened 5 year old, to the powerful and Inspirational Author / Speaker he is today was brilliantly delivered to an intimate but enthralled audience.
“We sincerely believes that all our guests were inspired by a great speaker and we hope to continue in the same vein with our next event on the 30th May 2012 at the Kenwood hotel in Sheffield” said Deon Jacobs “and with our second event (An Evening with Dean Andrews – the star of “Ashes to Ashes”, “Life on Mars” and “Last Tango in Halifax” just to name a few) we want to achieve even more”
Dean will be telling us about his extraordinary life from a “club singer” to winning roles in some of the best dramas we have seen on the small screen in recent years. For more information about the next event, please click here (more…)
Next Unique Dinner Planned
The Unique Network is already planning a second dinner… a dinner with a difference.
Following on from the Richard Mccann Unique Dinner on the 5th April 2013, a TV personality will be the main guest at a respected Sheffield Hotel. Watch this space for more information.
Astute Life Magazine Set To Launch
The Unique Network launches a new members magazine in April 2013.
Entitled Astute Life the quarterly magazine will be an easy read for business people who like to stay abreast of the latest business developments around the world and locally but who enjoy a plain English approach and succinct articles.
You can pre-order your copy by calling 01246 888 928