So what does it feel like to walk barefoot across hot burning coals…and why do people do it?

Just some of the questions that were put to me by James Cannon, presenter at BBC Radio Surrey, when I was interviewed by him last Saturday on behalf of Phyllis Tuckwell, the wonderful charity I’m proud to support.

As a photographer, I’m normally on the other side of the lens, capturing incredible moments that people experience but, on this occasion, I was the one walking across 15 ft of hot burning coals, at temperatures of around 600° F.  Like me, many participants were there to achieve something incredible, not just personally, but also to raise funds and awareness for causes close to their heart.

Which is why I found myself talking to James, bleary-eyed at 6.40 am on Saturday morning, to express just why – and how – people can achieve this seemingly impossible task.  You can listen to it here    Go to 41minutes & 42seconds into James’ show.

Did it hurt? No, not one bit.  Honest.

Were my feet hurt afterwards?  No, they were fine and unmarked!

How did you feel afterwards? Totally exhilarated, you could not get the smile off my face!

How do you actually do it? 

Well, that’s the really powerful bit. The organisers, Time4Change, use “…a range of disciplines and practices such as motivational psychology, NLP and the martial arts…” to help you prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for the task ahead.  No tricks or gimmicks.  In essence it comes down to the power of self-belief.

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But the astounding thing is, it works.  I genuinely didn’t feel a thing except a sense of incredible achievement at the end and the real belief in myself to go out and achieve my dreams of being a professional, successful photographer. That was 16 years ago and I haven’t looked back.

I’m not sure I convinced James to sign up to it but, if you’re feeling inspired, Phyllis Tuckwell needs more intrepid volunteers to sign up to this unique and wonderful experience on 23rd October at The Elvetham in Hartley Wintney. Find out more here .

Trust me, you won’t regret it.


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