You may have heard this one, but it holds such an important message and reminds us how even the little things can make such a difference to someone’s life. 

  • Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.” The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.” The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
    I consider myself very lucky! I had an idyllic childhood with parents who loved me & supported me in everything I did, I have a happy marriage, 2 beautiful children, a lovely home and some very good friends. I run my own business as Principal of a theatre school and teach lovely children to dance who all have lovely lives. Becoming a mum was the most wonderful thing to happen to me and I was besotted with both my babies from the instant I knew I was pregnant. I wanted to be the best mum I could possibly be and I strive every day of my life to ensure they have a happy, well rounded childhood whilst making lots of memories. I love to take them to new places and have new experiences, I encourage them to work hard in everything they do and I’m teaching them as many life skills as I can so they go out into the world as well rounded and capable adults. I like them to have nice things but Tony and I also make sure they appreciate everything they get and have very good values. They are both kind and caring young adults who think of others which makes me extremely proud. They of course have their moments and can drive us mad sometimes as teenagers and children can but I know that they are both good people with beautiful hearts. My two children have a fantastic life and are very very lucky and so, ever since they were small, I have taught them to think about others less fortunate than them. One of the things I’m very proud of is the Angel Tree Isabelle, Max and I set up. 
  • It was a few weeks before Christmas 8 years ago when Isabelle thought she would like to do something that year for children who weren’t as lucky as her. She’d seen a Christmas Advert by the Salvation Army and it sparked a thought in her young mind. We had lots of ideas of what we could do and eventually came up with the idea of our Angel Tree.As I run a dancing school, I have my own studios where many many parents with equally lucky children come every day so we thought it would be nice to get them all to think about other children who don’t have the wonderful lives and opportunities they do! We contacted the Salvation Army who were delighted we wanted to help and they provided us with a list of children by age and gender who were either living in care or very underprivileged. Our idea was an ‘Angel Tree’ where we would put up a Christmas tree in the studios with lots of paper Angels on & on each Angel we wrote either girl or boy with the age. These Angels were then taken by anyone who wanted to provide a gift for a child. We were completely overwhelmed as the Angels literally flew off the tree & proved extremely popular. No one likes the thought of a child with no gifts at Christmas. As it was so popular in our studios we also contacted Isabelle’s school who also agreed to having a tree in their reception. All the gifts were returned a week before Christmas which we then delivered to our local Salvation Army & we were delighted & blown away to hand over 90 gifts for them to wrap and distribute to local children. Six years later it’s still going strong and each November both Isabelle & Max start planning their Angel Tree & making the Angels ready to help some more children. We’re just thrilled to know we’ve given hundreds of gifts to them over the years and it’s something we will continue to do each year. 
    As I teacher I have taught many many children to dance over the past 25 years and most of those start at 2 or 3 years old and stay with me until they are 18. I see all stages of their lives and I pride myself in the fact that so many children take away wonderful memories, confidence, people skills, friendships, qualifications along with learning to dance. I often wear many many hats including, dance teacher, second mum, councillor, agony aunt, shoulder to cry on, confidant and it makes me extremely proud to know I’ve made a difference in so many children’s lives. I’ve been lucky over the years as along with a wonderful family I’ve also had many teachers and coaches who supported me and helped to shape my life and make a difference and so giving back becomes more and more important to me as I get older. 


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