Janet Gray Coaches Chrisine Bleakley @ 3rd Mar 2010

A familiar face to us all down and about the lake at Meteor has been helping BBC's 'The One Show' presenter Christine Bleakley get to grips with waterskiing for her upcoming Sports Relief challenge. Here's what Janet had to report on a recent training session:

Christine Practises at Home for Sport Relief Challenge

St. Valentine's Day was rather different this year, as Christine Bleakley and myself, Janet Gray, braved the waters of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Set on the Co. Down coast, the Lough is the richest in marine life in Europe, with everything from porpoises, seals, basking shark and even the odd whale visiting from time to time. The shores boast seal hauls outs and many nest sites and there's a fabulous aquarium in Portaferry at the mouth of the Lough. The waters may have many species of wildlife, but, these are very dangerous waters, with a tidal current of around 18nts, whirlpools and sunken wrecks, therefore, it is not a water ski area, but, the Council very kindly agreed to open the marina for Christine and I to practise and film, for the upcoming charity event.

Christine, presenter of The One Show on BBC1, is going to water ski across the English Channel in aid of Sport Relief. A mammoth challenge, considering she has only just learned to ski especially for the event!!!.

When Christine asked if, I would coach her and help in her preparation, I was absolutely thrilled. We are both originally Co. Down girls, so Strangford Lough was just the perfect place.

Crowds of excited spectators, friends and family turned out to cheer Christine on and lend their support, as we skied off together braving the icy waters. Christine then watched from the boat, as I skied, gaugeing the flow of the current beneath me, in order to give Christine as much information and useful tips as possible. Back on board, a quick chat over a hot cup of coffee and Christine was ready to brave the elements again. When our intrepid skier got back into the water, her ski-ing position had improved a lot and after a further twenty minutes of ski-ing out in the open sea, Christine's confidence had soared.

Time is short, as the challenge is set for around 10th March, weather depending, of course!!!, but, I have every faith in Christine and know, that she will give 110% on the day!!!. N.I. is very proud of our Christine and we are all behind her and will be cheering her on, every ski of the way!!!.

Go girl go!!!, you can do it!!!.

Janet Gray

Dr. Janet Gray M.B.E.
V1 Team Skier

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