Episode 33 of The Sailing Podcast is an interview with Allan Sparkes who has a story to share that is confronting and compelling. Al had a 20 year career in the New South Wales Police Force and was awarded the Cross of Valour – Australia’s highest bravery decoration.
This event proved to be the tipping point for a downward slide into post traumatic stress disorder and depression. After hitting rock bottom Allan faced the challenges of dealing with mental illness and holding his family and his relationships together during the long journey to recovery.
In this interview we hear about:
- Allan’s early days in the police force
- The rescue of a small child from a flooded storm water drain
- How his life events had pushed him to the limit of coping
- Why he shares his story of recovery
- How his sailing from England to Australia with his family helped in his rebuilding of his life
- Where you can find his new book –The Cost of Bravery
Click on the media player below to listen
Show Notes for The Cost of Bravery
Here is my favorite quote from Allan in the interview:
“The sailing/cruising community is the perfect society to be involved in. Cruisers are the most caring, kind and compassionate people who have a most wonderful sense of adventure and to be involved with those people, those are memories I will treasure forever”
You can find Allan Sparkes at the following places:
- Allan Sparkes Website – www.allansparkes.com
- The Facebook page for ‘The Cost of Bravery’ – www.facebook.com/allansparkescv
- The Cost of Bravery on Amazon –The Cost of Bravery
If you would like to purchase the book in Australia, I think the best place is to go to your local bookstore and see if they can order it in for you. If you are looking to purchase it online you can try:
- Ariel books – www.arielbooks.com.au
- Berkelouw – www.berkelouw.com.au
- Ibooks through Itunes
In 2006, 60 Minutes created a segment titled ‘Haunted Heroes’. It was the story of the 5 Australians who had been awarded the Cross of Valour. The following video, narrated by Ray Martin AM, is part of that 60 Minutes story. It is the story of the part Allan Sparkes took in the rescue of an 11 year old boy who had been swept 600 metres down a flooded storm water pipe. It is also the story of how Allan Sparkes life was to change forever.
I found a couple of videos from Allan’s sailing trip on his website and in the interview Allan mentioned that he thought that travelling through the Panama Canal was one of the greatest trips a cruising sailor could undertake so here is his YouTube video with commentary about the trip through the Panama Canal:
I have another couple of interviews completed and ready to edit and add to the collection of sailing podcasts:
- one with Pay Utley from The Greenheart Project, and they are working to build a small, low cost solar/sailing vessel for use by developing nations and coastal communities – and Pat lets us know how it all came together:
- Luca Shcueli of Ecoswiss Sailing Expeditions whose not for profit is supporting research and protection of the environment in the Mergui Archipelago in southern Burma or ‘Myanmar’.
So don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and if you haven’t done so already, I would love it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating and review on iTunes.
Thank you for joining us on our journey
by David Anderson
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