Congratulations to Jeanette Chippington MBE on winning her 11th World Title at the 2017  Para Canoe World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.

I have recently had the absolute pleasure to be able to chat with Jeanette Chippington MBE.

Jeanette became a Paralympic Champion at the Rio 2016 Paralympics for the K1 200m, but this was not her first sporting success.

Her physiotherapist suggested that Jeanette took up swimming as part of her recovery and as a form of exercise after contracting transverse myelitis which left her paralysed in both legs.  Jeanette had never learnt to swim  but was prepared to give it a go. She learnt to swim and was soon was taking part in local galas.

Not long after that she was selected to be part of team GB swimming squad, with her first major competition being in 1995.

Jeanette is an outstanding athlete having competed as a swimmer at five consecutive Paralympic Games; Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, winning a total of 12 medals.

It was 12 years after this that she was then encouraged by her friends to try out canoeing.  Jeanette was reluctant to take up the sport as a competitor as she knew that to compete at an elite level  would take over  her life. However  6 months later Jeanette won three gold medals at the World Championships.  She now had the bug and went onto then onto become a Paralympic Champion at Rio 2016 Paralympics.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to Canoeing.

Jeanette talked with passion about the importance of getting outdoors as beneficial to physical and mental well-being. She loves a gentle paddle down a river and because she can almost silently drift along she can get very close up to wildlife without disturbing them.  She has been able to watch king fisher diving into the river and water mammals playing on the riverbank. She is out most days on the river as part of her training program.

Jeanette strongly believes success is measured on what you can achieve. “Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t!”

I am looking forward to keeping in contact with Jeanette, as we have made a pact. I will get her to the top of a mountain and she will get me strong enough to be able to paddle a canoe along a river.

Whether you are a gold medalist or an amateur hiker…. The most important lesson of life is to follow your dreams and not to give up at the first hurdle.