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2021 #ShePaddles Ambassadors Announced

British Canoeing, Canoe Wales and the Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) are excited to announce the sixteen inspirational #ShePaddles Ambassadors for 2021. The #ShePaddles Ambassadors will be pivotal in promoting paddling and encouraging more women and girls to get on the water.

Meet the new Ambassadors... 

British Canoeing England #ShePaddles Ambassadors

Charlotte Ditchburn

Location: Wigton, Cumbria
Instagram: @publicrightsofwayexplorer

Charlotte is excited to be a #ShePaddles Ambassador as it’s another platform to help share her successes and failures to show women that anyone can get involved in paddling, no matter their shape size or mental state. Charlotte enjoys sharing these and many more experiences through her blog and social media pages, where Charlotte looks to inspire and educate people about topics such as access and mental health.

Interest fact – Charlotte is part of The Outdoorsy Type team where they run events, including paddle boarding, for likeminded people. Charlotte is also an ambassador for Ordnance Survey working to educate, entertain and inspire her followers to get outside. As well as a This Girl Can Suffolk Ambassador where she inspires and empowers women and girls, aiming to get them moving, regardless of their shape, size or ability.

Jen Warren

Location: Rugby, Warwickshire
Club/Centre: Royal Leamington Spa
Twitter: @drjen_w

Jen discovered paddling in 2017 and has never looked back. Paddling has supported Jen’s mental and physical health which is something she is looking forward to sharing more about. Jen is looking forward to being a #ShePaddles Ambassador, as she would like to inspire women to think differently and show how you can combine priorities without forgetting about yourself. Jen is also looking to raise the profile of paddling for disabled women to highlight how enabling and beneficial it can be

Interesting fact – Jen was Vice-captain of the UK Invictus Team in 2017 and team member in 2016 where Jen was able to inspire more women to participate.

Gemma Palmer- Dighton

Location: Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Club/Centre: SUP Huntingdon 
Instagram/Twitter: @GetGemma
Gemma is thrilled to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador and is looking forward to championing paddlesport, particularly stand up paddle boarding. Gemma will be using this opportunity to share more widely how paddlesports and SUP is accessible and welcoming for people of all genders, ethnicities, ages and physical abilities. 

Interesting fact – Gemma setup SUP Huntingdon which now has a rapidly growing community of over 500 members. Gemma leads regular SUP sessions and using the group to promote regular participation as well as knowledge and experiences, including top tips and handy hints. 

Laura Harrison

Location: Hersham, Surrey 
Club/Centre: Girlguiding Surrey West

As a #ShePaddles Ambassador Laura is looking to motivate more women and girls to experience kayaking whilst strengthening British Canoeing’s links with Girlguiding. 

Interesting fact – Laura is a newly qualified Paddlesports instructor and passionate about adventure and outdoor experiences. Laura has joined a team of volunteer instructors as part of Girlguiding to help fly the flag. To inspire girls, to show that it’s possible, it’s fun and to get girls out on the water.

Shilpa Rasaiah

Location: Loughborough, Leicestershire
Club/Centre: Soar Boating Club
Instagram: @Shilparasaiah

As a #ShePaddles Ambassador, Shilpa is looking forward to sharing her love and being able to help women, particularly from minority ethnic groups, to give paddling a try.

Interesting fact – Shilpa is a keen member of Soar Boating Club and loves going on group paddling trips and expeditions to various rivers across the country. Shilpa has also helped to build a stronger women’s community within the club which has seen more women want to get involved.

Lara Wyse

Location: Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire
Instagram: @larawysekayaking

Lara is enthusiastic to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador and is looking forward to using this platform to encourage more young women and girls to find a passion in kayaking. Lara hopes her experiences will inspire young women to want to get involved, learn and enjoy kayaking for many years.

Interesting fact – Lara did kayaking as part of her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award which involved Lara doing the FSRT course. Lara continues to grasp many paddling experiences, from white water kayaking to sea kayaking in Wales.

Anna Stishova

Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester
Club/Centre: Bolton Canoe Club
Instagram: @kayakinghijabi

Anna applied to be a #ShePaddles Ambassador because she wanted an opportunity to attract more Muslim and other BAME women into the paddling community. As a #ShePaddles Ambassador, Anna is also looking forward to sharing her experiences as a mother and the benefits that paddling has had on her family. Anna hopes her experiences will help to increase more families, especially mums, to get out paddling.

Interesting fact – Anna joined British Canoeing’s Inclusion Advisory Group to help support the organisation with ways to help grow a more inclusive and diverse paddling community.

Lisa Dickinson
Photo credit @philbulkeleyphotography                                              

Location: Basildon, Essex
Club/Centre: Lee Valley Paddlesports Club and Southend Canoe Club
Instagram: @adventuringlisa

Lisa is excited to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador so she can help other women who are struggling with their confidence like she did and still does. Lisa, is also really looking forward to being able to share her passion for paddling which has grown from strength to strength over the last year.

Interesting fact – A year ago, Lisa was scared of going anywhere near a weir, wouldn't surf a wave and in her head was a terrible paddler who just wasn't making any progress. Yet, fast forward a year, Lisa is now a qualified Paddlesports Instructor and White Water Leader. Lisa has been coaching other women and paddlers in her spare time to help them overcome the same hurdles. 

Katherine Midwinter

Location: Fareham, Hampshire
Club/Centre: Bere Forest Canoe Polo Club
Instagram: @katmidwinter

Katherine hopes by being a #ShePaddles Ambassador, she will be able to further support women within paddling clubs and groups. Katherine is looking forward to sharing lots of tips, tricks, myth busters and local contacts to help support women paddler’s confidence, progression and development, as well as to support their clubs to increase opportunities for women. 

Interesting fact - Katherine received club colours from the University of Southampton for “Outstanding dedication to the organisation of a club” due to her contribution to the Canoe Polo team as a committee member and player. Katherine was also the Women’s Sports Participation Officer for the University, where she helped clubs to become more welcoming places for women whilst supporting the development of the women within the clubs.

Rachel Roberts

Location: Oxford
Instagram: @raeroberts_

Rachel is looking forward to being a #ShePaddles Ambassador so she can continue to shout about the amazing women who paddle along with the great times she’s had on the river.

Interesting fact – Rachel is possibly the youngest girl to ever compete in the Ten Tors challenge, a 55 mile route that sees them visit ten nominated Tors in under two days. A challenge that sparked Rachel’s passion for outdoor pursuits.

Canoe Wales #ShePaddles Cymru Ambassadors

Clare Thomas

Location: Brecon, Powys
Instagram: @clare_bambi

As a #ShePaddles Ambassador Clare is hoping to share her journey to help other women realise that they can reach their paddling goals no matter their age. Clare is also passionate about increasing the number of women working within the industry as well as increasing the number of women role models within the community.

Interesting fact – Clare has been an instructor at various centres for over 13 years and has experienced paddling in some beautiful locations from the Ardeche to the river Dyfi.

Lina Patel

Location: Cynwyd, Denbighshire 
Club/Centre: Colwyn canoe club & Bala canoe club
Instagram: @linapatelcanoe

Lina applied to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador to support change for the future, primarily for not wanting her daughter to experience some of things Lina has done. Lina is looking forward to support from the inside to help develop a more welcoming and inclusive environment where women feel they can belong, contribute and thrive.

Interesting fact – Lina is a professional paddle sport and outdoor instructor as well as a director of the charity My Ebb and Flow which is for PTSD in veterans. Lina is a keen canoeist and enjoys expeditions, but has been involved in a number of disciplines through the years in some way, whether it be as a youth worker, working in some of London’s clubs or doing adventure therapy with young people through social services up in Scotland and in the USA.

Katie Simmons

Location: Nant-Y-Ffrith, Wrexham
Instagram: @katiesimmo

By becoming a #ShePaddles Ambassador, Katie hopes to share the importance of protecting and respecting the coastline and waterways to ensure they can be enjoyed for future generations and to ensure the wildlife can thrive. Katie is also looking to continue to inspire numerous women into the world of paddle sport, especially stand up paddle boarding.

Interesting fact – Katie is well and truly imbedded in the world of white water SUP and has won several WW races taking place in North wales. Katie, is hoping to attend an expedition SUP course in Scotland later in the year to combine sup touring with Mountain leadership and expeditions. 

Scottish Canoe Association #ShePaddles Ambassadors

Charlotte Crossland

Location: Prestwick
Instagram: @cc_adventures__

Charlotte is looking to share the incredible feeling and experiences that comes with paddle sport with the wider community. Charlotte will use her time as a #ShePaddles Ambassador to inspire and empower women and girls to leave their comfort zones and try something new.

Interesting fact – Charlotte’s incredible experiences have inspired her to start a SUP teaching business. Watching the joy paddle boarding has on her clients reminds Charlotte why she fell in love with paddle sport and why she wants to share her experiences far and wide.

Vikki McPherson

Location: Aboyne, Aberdeenshire
Instagram: @viks.mcp 

By being a #ShePaddles Ambassador, Vikki is hoping to inspire younger generations to get outside, have fun, build confidence and feel empowered.  

Interesting fact – Vikki discovered the joy of paddle boarding in July 2020 after encouraging her children to give it a go a year earlier. Vikki is now embarking on the Core Coach Training course with excitement so she can introduce young people and kids to paddle boarding.

Emy McLeod

Location: Aviemore, Highlands
Club/Centre: Strathspey SUP
Instagram: @emy.mcleod

As a #ShePaddles Ambassador Emy is looking forward to promoting paddlesports to other women by sharing her experiences. Emy is also looking forward to sharing various top tips and handy hints, as well as safe places to paddle.

Interesting fact – Emy has been paddling for a number of years now and has enjoyed canoeing, kayaking, sea kayaking, rafting and SUPing. Emy has also set up a paddle boarding club and business that provides coaching, guiding and rental; Strathspey SUP. Emy also volunteers with the SCA sitting on the SUP Committee.

We hope you join us in welcoming our fantastic ambassadors! Over the coming weeks and months we will be bringing you lots more about their paddling stories and introducing you to them on social media.