Eddie The Eagle


The Women’s Institute’s strapline and raison d’être is ‘Inspiring Women’ and Great Bookham Belles WI did exactly that when it held an Eddie the Eagle film night with special guest Michael Edwards, Eddie The Eagle himself!  In fact this sold out event was not just about inspiring women but males too, the audience spanning from primary school children to those of retirement age, all in aid of a worthy cause, the Belles 2018 charity ‘Your Sanctuary‘. Eddie became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in an Olympic ski jumping event.

Once refreshments and raffle tickets had been purchased and all 250 seats taken, the evening commenced with an introduction by Great Bookham Belles WI President, Amanda Edge who invited Fiamma Pather, CEO of #Your Sanctuary, to say a few words about the Surrey based charity which supports survivors of domestic abuse.

Eddie then took to the stage to introduce the film explaining that this was to be the 27th time he had watched it but that he could watch it over and over again; it still brings a tear to his eye!  The film was based on Eddie’s dream of becoming an Olympian and, despite all the adversity he experienced along the way, how he triumphed in the 1988 Calgary Olympics ski jumping event, 30 years ago almost to the day; even though he finished last in the 70 and 90 metre jump, he achieved what he had set out to do and more besides.  The  film lived up to its introduction and did bring a tear to the eye, in a feel good way and left one with the message to ‘never give up’ and ‘follow your dreams’.

As the credits rolled Eddie took to the stage again, this time to take questions. Questions were from young and old alike and ranged from “how did it feel when you first jumped?” to “do you still hold the British World Record for ski jumping?”  Eddie still does hold the record and it also came to light he still has his iconic pair of glasses that he wore under his ski mask, despite no longer having to wear glasses!

The evening finished with a queue for an Eddie ‘meet and greet’ with photos/selfies taken.  Eddie was the ‘dream’ guest spending time with and taking an interest in each and every one who came to chat to him.  The event will definitely be a night to remember with the message to live you life, live your dream, keep persevering and in the end it will pay off – and the word on everyone’s lips… ‘Inspirational!’

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