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  • Dame Kelly Holmes to speak at GCA Conference

    The GCA will welcome double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes MBE to its stage during its annual conference.

    Kelly will speak to conference attendees about her career, mental health and what organisations can do to help.
     
    The mental health advocate, broadcaster and writer said: “During my speech at the GCA conference I will be taking a personal look at mental health. I’ll also show what individuals and organisations need to do to help. I will look at the ups and downs of my career on and off the track and what kept me going. I’ll also talk about what it takes to achieve your goals.
     
    “Drawing on my time in the army as well as my athletics career I will also talk about effective team building, planning and preparation as well as the importance of physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
     
    As a teenager Kelly had two dreams, to join the army and win an Olympic gold medal. After early school-level success on the track she joined the army. She training as an HGV driver.
     
    After 10 years in the army, Kelly left the forces and returned to the running track full time.
     
    Despite injuries Kelly amassed seven gold, eight silver and four bronze medals. In 2004, in Athens, she became the first British athlete in more than 80 years to win a double gold on the track. She was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year and European Athlete of the Year.
     
    Iain Wylie said: “Kelly has had a fantastic career on and off the track. She’s an inspiring person, which is why she is a fantastic choice of speaker at our conference. She will have lots of helpful advice that our attendees can take with them and instil in their own businesses.
     
    “Despite her achievements, Kelly suffered from serious mental health problems. Her frequent physical injuries also had a psychological effect. It culminated in a breakdown in the run up to the World Championships before her Olympic triumph.
     
    “It was after retirement that she opened up about her battle. She has since become a champion for greater awareness and support in all areas of life. This is an important topic for our attendees to consider in all aspects of their lives.”
     
    Kelly was awarded an MBE for her services to the army. She has recently returned to the military after being appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps. It’s the first time anyone has ever been awarded such an appointment.
     
    She founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to support both retired athletes and disadvantaged young people. She was also an Ambassador for London 2012 and patron of several charities.

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