Name: Alison Kibblewhite
Job Role: Area Manager, Head of Operations South Wales Fire Service.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t rush in to relationships. Have more time to enjoy yourself when you’re younger.
Describe yourself in 3 words? Sociable, hard working and energetic.
Favourite Penguin – Macaroni
Alison’s Story (in her own words)
March 2019 was a significant year for me as I had a major operation, a hysterectomy that I had been fighting for for over 10 years.
I had been living with various connected issues and I was pretty much in constant pain.
I had been through lots of procedures and medication for the last 25 years and it was affecting my everyday life, spoiling lots of holidays, ruining races and training sessions and causing me embarrassment time after time.
So this operation forced me to take 3 months off, 6 weeks of not driving or lifting a thing and the only exercise allowed was walking and I returned to work in Mid-June.
I can honestly say I didn’t actually realise how ill I had been previously and how much it affected me and this operation certainly changed and improved my life.
So not long after my return to work Georgina asked if I would pop to her station as she wanted to talk to me. Georgina and Nakita had been to the WFS event in June and had hatched a plan! Inspired by the Ice Maidens they had decided that they would like to pull together a team of firefighters from London and South Wales and they would like me to be part of the team.
I am always up for a challenge and the opportunity to learn some new skills but my initial though was I am too old for something like this as I will be 55 when we embark on the expedition.
But Georgina persuaded me it was about stamina and mental toughness which usually suits ‘more mature’ people, as she described it.
So I said I would think about it but I needed to run it by my husband. My initial thoughts were he would think I was mad and being ridiculous but without hesitation he said it was an opportunity of a lifetime and to go for it.
So I agreed not knowing all the facts and the following months more information about the challenge and the training have emerged and I have had some reservations and sleepless nights worrying about leaving my husband and family for a long period but I am really looking forward to all the training over the next three years.
If I had been asked 10 years ago to do this it would have been a ‘no’ just because of the health issues I was living with.
It would have been impossible to undertake such a challenge and I would not have been able to maintain the training to the level I have over the last year and I feel fitter and stronger that I have for many years and made 5 great friends as well.
I hope our stories, our causes and our complete journey over the next three years will inspire other people to take on challenges that may at first seem impossible and go on incredible adventures to show others what can be achieved through adversity and also to help our three nominated charities to carry on the amazing work that they do to help others.
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