Archives for September 2011

Tenacity – an Inspirational Attribute!


Marion-Clignet - World Champion despite Epilepsy

Last night I was very fortunate to attend a lecture from a lady who was nothing short of a revelation.

I have to confess to my ignorance of the sport of cycling, despite watching occasional clips of the Tour de France, that I had never previously heard of Marion Clignet. Yet when I read the invitation from WA Epilepsy Association head honcho, Suresh Rajan, I knew we were in for a treat.

Cyclist, Marion Cligny had been crowned World Champion six times, as well as double Olympic Silver Medalist, ten times French national champion and multiple USA champion, plus a world record breaker in a lengthy and illustrious career in the sport, all despite taking medication for epilepsy.

The audience was obviously in immediate rapport with Marion because most of them either suffered the effects of epilepsy, or their lives had been touched by a connection with someone else who has the ‘condition’.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that even a person who couldn’t care less about the topic would have been moved by Marion’s inspirational tenacity to overcome any obstacle put before her.

Rejected by the American National Team on the grounds that her having epilepsy might prove a hazard to her teammates, thus effectively discriminated against, Marion accepted an invitation to race for France, courtesy of her French parentage.

Marion also overcame discrimination against her gender in that women do not enjoy anywhere near the level of sponsorship or support as men do, in her chosen sport.

Now effectively retired from competing at the top level, (she just does triathlons for fun!) Marion revealed how a person with epilepsy can suffer a seizure anywhere, anytime. She explained the absurdity with which first aiders can be trained in how to help people who have suffered heart attacks, and have defribulators often readily available, yet the vast majority of the population have no idea what to do if someone has a seizure, nor is emergency medication readily available!

The message from Marion Clignet was delivered in a witty, spellbinding, yet forthright manner – that ‘those who face major adversities can realise their dreams and ambitions and that actually having these hurdles can often become the driving motivation behind their successes.’

In her book, ‘Tenacious’ with Benjamin C Hovey, she concludes, simply yet from the heart, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

Marion Clignet - an inspiration to us all

Marion Clignet - an Inspiration to Us All

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Marion Clignet

Cycling World Champion

Champion of the Cause of Spreading Awareness of Epilepsy



This poses the obvious question – If Marion can be a World Champion, despite suffering seizures, can’t the rest of us also  ‘Ride faster, harder and with a smile’? – Thanks Marion 🙂

Further information about epilepsy can be obtained from:

Mr Suresh Rajan – Executive Officer

Epilepsy Association of Western Australia

P: (08) 93467699       F: (08)93467696 E:

The Niche Suite B, 11 Aberdare Road, Nedlands WA 6009

The Secret to 70 years of Wedded Bliss


Bill & Vera Inman

Bill & Vera Inman with great-grandson, Hayden

Many of us would think ourselves lucky to reach 70 years of age in good health, let alone be married for that long.
Bill and Vera Inman of Ellenbrook however, have managed to achieve exactly that incredible milestone.
There have been many times in the last year when this celebration appeared unlikely to take place.
Bill, now aged 89, had a fall whilst holidaying in Busselton last year and suffered multiple facial fractures and suspected nerve damage that necessitated an emergency flight up to Royal Perth Hospital.
The youngest of Bill and Vera’s four children, Tony, who also celebrated his 50th birthday this year, said he was horrified at the extent of his father’s injuries.
“When I went to the hospital I could barely recognise Dad, the bruising and swelling was so severe, and the doctors didn’t think he’d pull through.” said Mr Inman.
“Before the accident, Dad was still independent, driving to the shops, the bank and all their medical appointments.”


Flight-Sergeant Bill Inman

Flight-Sergeant Bill Inman

“It’s amazing to think that he survived all the bombings in Malta during the War, but a simple fall could have such dramatic consequences.”
Tony Inman went on to explain that his father, who hails from Manchester, joined the Royal Air Force at the age of fifteen and after serving his apprenticeship as a fitter, he married his sweetheart, Vera Wheeler from Chester.
Their romance was interrupted by the Second World War though and Bill was soon posted to serve in Malta as an engineer, fixing the fighter aircraft, the Hurricanes and Spitfires.
By nineteen, he was an Acting Flight Sergeant, who survived near starvation, polio and meningitis.
“When he was taken really ill in Malta, my mother received a telegram back in England, where she was surviving on ration coupons and working in a munitions factory.” said Tony.
Vera only read as far as “We regret to inform you…” when she fainted in front of the alarmed message dispatcher.
Luckily, the message merely explained that Bill was on the seriously ill list, but fortunately he recovered and continued the fight.



The Inman Family c1963 & 2011

“Dad used to tell us as children, that we had to eat all of our dinner, because he had been so hungry on Malta that they used to crack open the biscuits and wait for the weevils to crawl out, so he and his mates could eat the biscuits instead.”
The food shortage in Malta owing to the interception of the convoys of supply ships was nothing compared with the relentless bombing runs of the German and Italian air forces.
On one occasion, young Bill Inman was walking along the side of the airstrip when he stopped to talk with a colleague, who was working up a telegraph pole. A bomb landed right where Bill would have been, had he not stopped for a friendly chat.
On another day, when the workload of trying to repair the British fighter aircraft as fast as they were being damaged, led to a need for the engineers to work twelve hour rotational shifts, a bomb landed on the Sergeant’s barracks and destroyed, among other things, the bed on which Bill would have been sleeping, had he been off duty.

The ‘Siege of Malta’ was later declared to be a crucial factor in the Allies. eventual triumph in the War, and the island itself was awarded the George Cross for the courage and determination of the whole community.
Between 1940 and 1943, the beleaguered island endured 3,340 air raids.
Bill participated in the Italian campaign and in Egypt before the war finally ended.
He and Vera, with sons Peter and Geoffrey were posted to Aden after the hostilities, where they had a third baby, Michael. The infant unfortunately was diagnosed with a heart complaint so the family rushed back to England for treatment, but alas, he died, aged only six months.
Bill left the RAF and the family moved to settle in the charming British Channel island of Jersey, and Bill continued with his love of aviation as an engineer with British Airways, in a career that spanned 26 years.
At the same time, Bill and Vera also ran their own hotel businesses in Jersey, before emigrating to retire in Perth and join Geoff and his family.


Most of Inman family

Most of the Inman family 2011

The couple had two other children, Cheryl and Antony, who were brought up in the family hotel environment and who both later worked in hospitality, with Tony running his own Perth-based backpackers hostel business for 14 years. Peter was the only son to remain in the U.K.
The family maintained that aviation link, as Peter became a pilot, Cheryl was an air hostess and Tony also gained his pilot’s licence. Peter’s son, Andrew is a Royal Air Force helicopter flying instructor.
Vera, now 92, still lives in their ‘Pines Village’ retirement home, while Bill has now had to move into the nursing home nearby for extra care, though he comes home to visit, and the couple live only a 2 minute walk away from each other.


Congrats from the Queen

Congrats from the Queen

Now with four children, thirteen grand-children and twelve great grand-children, Bill and Vera have been honoured with messages from HRH the Queen, the Lieutenant-Governor, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as well as many local politicians.
Vera’s secret for success: “In all our years together, we vowed never to go to sleep on an argument. We always talked it through.”
The above story was a family media release from Tony Inman.

Another Tick off my Goals List

Tony & Jo complete Perth City to Surf

Tony & Jo at the start line

Last weekend, Perth played host to one of its biggest community events, the annual City to Surf race.


Raising funds for local charity group, the Activ foundation, an eclectic mix of runners and walkers, old and young together, make their way from St Georges Terrace in the City to City Beach on the coast.


Originally, the course was a straightforward 12 km stretch, before a 4km walk option was added, to cater for those who sought involvement but lacked the necessary fitness for the long haul.


This year also featured a half marathon and full marathon options – a massive 45 kms.


It’s a fun event, with many runners sporting fancy dress outfits to brighten the occasion. The finale is somewhat akin to a carnival atmosphere with a fairground and  huge marquis banquets provided by Perth’s rich mining companies for their staff.


Tony in 1985

Tony finishing a half marathon in 1985

I ran my first City to Surf event 25 years ago, wearing a Target tee-shirt, who were my employers when I first arrived in Perth. Needless to say, having completed both the Guernsey and Jersey half marathons the year before that, I was a fit and relatively skinny young man back then. The race drew around 4,000 runners.


Since then I have completed, I think, eight City to Surfs, but I have to confess that the last one was about five years ago!


Today, the event caters for around 42,000 entrants in the various categories. Jo was an excited, first time participant.


Wearing a middle aged tyre these days, I decided to use the event as a motivational tool to help me improve my fitness level. To show I was really serious about working on my fitness, I also gave up drinking alcohol for the four weeks leading up to the race.


Despite a few lengthy training stints, I was still not as prepared as I would have liked, but nevertheless, my girlfriend Jo and I made the effort and completed the race (in time for a hearty breakfast courtesy of Jo’s employer, Chevron).


We’re now determined to maintain our new habits of going for walks and jogs, and have set a goal to improve on our time next year. This fits in well with our goal to complete the Inca Trek (45 kms) to Macchu Picchu in Peru next year.


With our walk to and from the race, plus the race itself, we covered around 18 kms on foot last Sunday. We were both pretty stiff and sore that evening, so we still have some training to do, but I am glad to say that we were both exhilarated for sticking to our goals, including a dry month for me.


The moral of the story – Keep setting fun goals – they keep you young at heart.

Plus the act of committing to a pledge you have made to the person in the mirror can be a catalyst to empower you to achieve other goals as well.

I highly recommend the idea to my clients (subject to medical clearance of course!)


Until next time, seize the day!