Read all about it


Me SwimmingI have just borrowed the title of the wonderful Professor Green ft. Emily Sande song 'Read All About It' to describe my week – it has been quite amazing.

Last Sunday I eventually took to the pool at Trinity School in Croydon to swim 100 lengths of it for British Polio Fellowship and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. I will admit to a few butterflies as I have never swum 2.5km before and also I felt responsible for everyone having a good time, spectators and participants alike.

Event programmeI swam in lane 1 and in lanes 3 – 6 the volunteer swimmers took part in lots of fun races to keep the crowd entertained, as you can see from the programme (left). It was supposed to be strictly non-competitive, but no-one told the teams that! The four teams were BPF, LLR, QVC and CPFC. At this point I hope you don't mind me listing and thanking my friends and colleagues from QVC who took part (pictured below); Gilly Badoud, James Barton, Mike Edlin, Chloe Everton, Debbie Flint, Hannah Fuller, Hannah Pond, Roxanne Slatford, Pete Thomson and Tania Wall ( our lovely model).

I must also say a big thank you to Natalie Gray for filming on the day and then editing this piece so that those of you who were not able to attend can get a flavour of it.


[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube's Help page]

QVC Team After I had completed my 100 lengths, I swam length 101, which those of you who have read my book will know is the chapter about my diagnosis with chronic myeloid leukaemia, and all the other swimmers jumped in to support me as so many people have done over the last year. My swim wasn't quite finished though. I then had the honour of racing against Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist, James Crisp.

He swam two lengths whilst I swam one, only fair considering he is half my age, and I still only just touched before him…do we think he let me win?!?!? He had brought his silver medal from London 2012 with him and allowed me to wear it for the photos after our 'race' – what a lovely chap.

One Hundred Lengths Geoff and JamesJames Crisp and MeAll the swimmers were awarded with a medal for taking part, presented by another Paralympian polio survivor, Anne Wafula Strike, and the winning team also received a trophy. That team was BPF whose swimmers included James Crisp's girlfriend; she was lightning fast.

It was a brilliant day and well done to Charlotte and Laura from the QVC marketing team for handling everything so well on the day, to Bob Ballard for compering the event, and to former Crystal Palace footballers Geoff Thomas and John Salako…next time John you're going in the pool!

So that was Sunday, after which I went to work for Super Sunday, which I hope you all enjoyed, buoyed not only from the gala, but also Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Then on Tuesday I had an email to tell me that the article I had done for the Daily Mail months ago to raise awareness of a condition called Post Polio Syndrome, was in that day's paper. I rang my partner Chris to ask him to get the paper while he was out shopping.

The next day another email arrived alerting me to a fabulous piece in the Daily Mirror about their journalist visiting QVC to be a 'Presenter' for a day. I didn't know she had visited so the article was a complete but lovely surprise for me as she had some very complimentary things to say. Once again I asked Chris to get a copy of the paper while he was out shopping…he goes most days as we like to buy fresh.

On Thursday, as I was about to leave for work, he sent me a text, "Which paper do I need to get today?" – he has a great sense of humour! I've sent him out this morning to buy the Croydon Advertiser…I'm not joking!

Thanks to all of you who have helped me raise over £4000 for the two charities and to those who came along to watch on the day – it was lovely to meet you.

Heading in to work shortly for Nina Leonard at 5pm and Bibi Bijoux at 6pm and then I have the weekend off – if you do too I hope you have a lovely one.

Much love,
Julia xx


  1. Pauline Johnson July 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm -  Reply

    Good on you Julia knew you would do it,now you need to take a step back and look after your own health,wish I could have been there it looked like a load of fun,but David could not cope with the drive,only goes where he knows these days,off to north Wales for a few days (coach holiday) staying in a castle only time I will feel like a queen ha ha,speak soon look after yourself .

  2. Sandra Gregory July 12, 2013 at 11:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, just wanted to say many congratulations to you and your teams for completing the swim for charity, well done to you all.
    Love Sandra xxx

  3. Diane gilbank July 13, 2013 at 9:03 am -  Reply

    So so pleased to read all about your swim and all the activities on the day julia. You are such a great advocate for both the charities,well done you! Can’t believe you did all that then went and did a fab stint at work. You are looking so good, so hope you are feeling as good on the inside as well?
    Also wanted to tell you how fab you looked in the turquoise dress on lennys show yesterday. Can imagine it must make it hard to choose what to buy when you have such a wealth of clothes to choose from,but that dress was a must have for you I think!
    Take care much love Diane xx

  4. Jean Pugh July 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm -  Reply

    Wow Julia,
    You must be so proud and your family to achieve what you did, 101 lengths. That is some achievement.
    It sounds as if you had a fantastic day, great to have all the support from all those at QVC who took part and everyone else. They all seemed to be in great spirits in the pool. I watched the video, everyone is having great fun and there you are swimming away. Love the bit at the end where they all swim behind you as you come to the finish.
    Anyway congratulations once again Julia from myself and my daughter Heidi, you should feel proud. Glad you raised a great deal of money, such a great cause.
    Have a great weekend.
    Love Jean XX

  5. martin forbes July 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm -  Reply

    that was agood video julia

  6. SJ July 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia!
    You did amazing!!! You really did amazing, I couldn’t imagine having to do 101 lengths of a pool… I’m fed up after 10! I am not surprised you need the weekend off after that!
    Although I must admit, I did laugh during Ali Youngs’ anniversary show when she asked if you were ok as you hadn’t had a holiday for a few weeks LOL, she is so cheeky yet loveable!
    I haven’t written to you for a few weeks as I’ve been away (had a lovely week in Edinburgh), but I did manage to see some of jewellery day, and was so glad i had to leave half way through, I bought so many items during the first few shows of the day, mostly Aurora items… I adore that brand, and QVC prices make me speechless, as I’ve seen them in local stores for more than 50% more!
    I wish I had someone to go get the shopping everyday, most of the time I just pick it up on my way home from work or after dropping some of the kids off at the train station, before I go to work! Although in saying that, I work only 3 days a week (the others I of course spend glued to QVC), so I shouldn’t complain – even when i do no one listens! haha
    Hope all is well,

  7. terri cronin July 14, 2013 at 11:57 am -  Reply

    well done Julia, l must admit to shedding a tear when u completed the swim, l wish u good health for years to come, u r one in a million God Bless

  8. Carole cooper July 15, 2013 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    Well done Julia watched the video it was great you should be so proud of yourself to do 101 lengths bet it took some doing, and did Sunday shows as well. I have just come back from the 02 watching micheal buble he was brilliant stay at holiday inn express not been London for 10 years I really enjoyed it and hubby likes it to even though he’s into elo . Take care Julia Carole Wigan

  9. Kathryn Sheehan July 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Just wanted to say well done Team Splash, raising lots of money for 2 great Charities.I would really struggle to swim 1 length never mind 101. Two of my friends from near Croydon said they were going but don’t know if they made it as they are moving to Epsom in a few weeks. (Bill and Cath Perkins.)
    I got my dates muddled up i thought i was going away on the 7th July but it’s the 27th silly me, going to Cyprus with a friend,which is lovely as we enjoy the superb weather here in England befor we go. Poor Ian will be working….. but his boss has given him an extra 2 weeks to add to the break we have booked for our 1st Anniversary as he has worked such long hours latley, so now we can fly direct somewhere from Paris Last 2 weeks of September. Where to go ????? as long as it’s hot i don’t care, have you any more holiday’s booked this year. Bet you could do with a rest now. Your looking good Julia, here hoping the med’s keep working for you. Well Done Again.
    Take Care.
    Kathy x

  10. Marian Bolton July 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    A massive ‘well done’, I can’t get over the length of that pool and that you swam it 101 times continuously! Great to watch the film as it really captures the atmosphere. Wish I could have been there but that’s the next best thing.
    Well, my rain dance didn’t work, did it! I’m off work this week but it’s too darn hot to do anything! Had to watch Twilight again today. It’s a hard life!

  11. Annette Roberts July 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Just a quickie, loved the blog and Natalie did a fantastic job of the video…thanks for sharing, nice to see some of your 101 lengths, you looked really pooped at the end, but what an achievement!
    Sorry to hear that your roomie has left, who will you share with now and what a bout Anna’s plant are you still looking after it?
    Must go, off to get all my bits and pieces ready for tomorrow’s op eeek!
    Annette x

  12. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pauline
    Just had five days off relaxing and recharging the batteries …. even went to the seaside for the day yesterday.
    Hope you and David have a lovely holiday and that the weather stays fine
    Julia x

  13. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sandra
    Thanks it was a good day and I think everyone enjoyed it. Thanks also for your donation … we have now raised more than double the original target and donations are still trickling in … both charities are very pleased.
    Julia x

  14. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Diane
    Really good to hear from you ….. I think I was still high on the adrenalin on Super Sunday but I struggled a bit for the rest of last week. I really needed my five day break and have been really lucky with the weather so have relaxed and read a lot, including finishing Deb Flint’s book.
    How are you feeling?
    I’m at the hospital just now for my latest blood tests so I will find out if everything is still going well
    Julia x

  15. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean
    I think my family were pleased that it all worked out so well and Daniel and Sophie really had a good time taking part ….. Chris can’t swim!
    My friend Natalie did all the filming and editing …. I think she has done a fabulous job in capturing the fun but also the reason for doing the swim. She had the towel with ‘One Hundred Lengths of the Pool’ embroidered on it specially made for me.
    Thanks again for your donation
    Julia x

  16. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Martin
    I’m glad you enjoyed the video – it’s thanks to my friend Natalie who did a great job
    Julia x

  17. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi SJ
    I must confess I was glad when the swim was over – I had cramp in my toes at 49 lengths and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to carry on. Fortunately it eased off and after the swim Deb Flint very kindly gave my toes a massage!
    No more holidays planned just yet although we did manage a day at the seaside yesterday – lovely cooling sea breeze! This weather is amazing but even I’m too hot at night without the aircon that you get abroad!
    Chris is very good … we make a list and off he goes. Mind you, one time he forgot to buy the cauliflower for the cauliflower & broccoli cheese I was making for dinner!
    Hope you enjoyed Edinburgh
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  18. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Terri
    Thanks for your lovely comments ….. I must confess to shedding a tear myself when I saw a photo of my daughter Sophie hugging me at the end of the 101st length …. I am so very lucky to have the incredible love and support of my family
    Julia x

  19. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Carole
    I was so pleased Natalie did such a great job on the video …. it gave me a chance to see all the fun on the other side of the pool while I was ploughing up and down.
    Slightly envious of your trip to the O2 to see Michael Buble …. I will have to watch out for the next UK tour.
    Julia x

  20. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm -  Reply

    Hello Kathy
    Thanks – everyone was great on the day not just the swimmers but all the volunteer helpers too and Radio Presenter Bob Ballard who gave his time to compete the event. It was also lovely to see the two charities working together …. not a very common occurrence.
    I have enjoyed my 5 days off – very lucky with the weather. Nothing booked as yet for later in the year.
    Hope you enjoy Cyprus and wherever you are off to in September
    Julia x

  21. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marian
    I must confess it was a bit daunting when I first saw the size of the pool but once you have got past the first 20 lengths it actually feels like you could keep going forever …… a bit like a long walk!
    I’ve really been enjoying the sunshine but the poor old garden is not so keen, so keep trying with the rain dance.
    Do you sit in the sun or are you another Alison Young? I’ve been using factor 50 this week – never thought I would in this country!
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  22. Julia roberts July 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    You are right I was pooped at the end BUT ‘happy’ pooped!
    I hope your operation went ok today – was thinking about you particularly in all this heat!
    I am so sad to be losing Anna as my roomie she really is the loveliest girl ….. of course I will still look after her lilies and we are definitely going to keep in touch. I think I am going to be on my own for the time being which is not good as I will be less inclined to keep things tidy!
    Let me know how you got on
    Julia x

  23. martin forbes July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm -  Reply

    never mind julia xmas in july next wednesday

  24. Rosemary Prentice August 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm -  Reply

    Better late than never to Congratulate you on you swim!
    Watched the Video as I could not be there on this occasion.
    Wanted to get in the pool myself and do my bit – but cannot now do the breastroke which I notice you do – because of my knee replacement (it would be unwise to do the leg movements I fear).

  25. sassy December 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm -  Reply

    hi julia, read your blog etc, thinking of you, with your illness, will sponser you when you do another charity sponser for lukaemeia, my father had multiple myeloma, and i collect for elf fund[exeter lukaemia fund, so am thinking of you.keep fighting and smiling.

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