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I have been so fortunate to grow up in an age and a country where women have been encouraged  to develop so much.  I was a post-war baby, born the only child of a father who certainly wanted a boy.  That was lucky for me, because I was encouraged to believe anything was possible.  I was not held back just because I was a girl. My early toys were train sets and farms as well as dolls, and my sixth birthday present was a small hacksaw so I could join my father in his workshop.

I was taught never to expect other people to help me if I wasn’t prepared to help myself and that philosophy has brought me nothing but good.  Now that I am retired I can look back on a successful career and  look forward to a more relaxing life with my wonderful husband.

It’s been a great year for the British!  The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were magnificent, and she is such a wonderful role model for us all.  Even non-royalists cannot fail to be impressed by her stamina and fortitude.  And a few short weeks later we hosted the Olympics and it was a triumph, in spite of the doom and gloom proclaimed by the Cassandras of this world.

My thoughts however turned to Tanni Grey-Thompson.  I recall being so thrilled when I first saw her wheelchair racing and winning her gold medals. In her Paralympic career she won 16 medals  (11 gold, four silver and a bronze).  How many of us would have had the courage to overcome so many of the challenges presented to her?

Now retired from racing she focuses on championing the cause of other worthy Paralympians.  The Paralympics is now almost as familiar as the Olympics themselves, and yet it is only in the last thirty years that they have really been taken seriously.  And this year will see the biggest Paralympic Games ever.  Over 4,000 athletes representing 165 countries will take part. Tanni Grey-Thompson should be rightly proud that without men and women like her we would not be in this position.

And so, what about my relaxing life?  Well, I set my own agenda, but I can’t sit still and do nothing.  So I’m embarking on my next career – as a novelist.  I was inspired by the American author John Locke to self-publish e-books and have two available through Kindle, with the third on the way.  Not surprisingly the main characters are strong and determined women.  Check out my website for more information  at http://www.tanyacarlysle.com

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