Disability Sports Ambassador

Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire Published under | 23 Comments

On Tuesday 25th September, at a ceremony in the Great Hall, Winchester, I became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire.  Asked some weeks ago by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, DCVO, if I would like to become one of her Deputies, I was extremely honoured by such a request to represent my County and, of course, was only too pleased to accept. Seated beneath King Arthur’s Round Table in the Great Hall, it was a fitting historic setting for the event.  Thank you to all those who have written in congratulation, it is much appreciated and I look forward to performing my duties, whatever they may be, when called upon.

Unfortunately, being a Deputy Lieutenant does not bring with it the right to brandish a sword. Fortunately, being a member of the Cordon Rouge Club does.  Well, maybe not brandishing it, but certainly using it to take the tops off Mumm Champagne bottles.  I’ve been a member for a year now but it wasn’t until recently that I was presented with my sword and other goodies at a magnificent Cordon Rouge Club dinner in London.  Accompanied by some of the greatest explorers and adventurers like Dee Caffari, David Hempleman-Adams, Mike Golding, Ben Fogle et al, we were treated to an exceptional 7 course champagne-paired menu cooked by a Michelin starred chef.  OMG. What a treat.  For a really interesting short video about the Cordon Rouge Club and to see some of the other inspirational members, CLICK HERE.  You should have seen me trying to sneak a sword onto the midnight train from Waterloo to Southampton, luckily I wasn’t spotted by any police.

Ladies Day on Wetwheels including Shelley Jorey-Leigh and the inspirational Natasha Lambert

With so many commitments, unfortunately I am unable to help as many voluntary organisations as I would wish and it is always difficult to say “no”, especially with so many worthwhile organisations doing such great work. But there have been two approaches recently that I could not refuse.  In May I became a Council member of the RNLI, the charity which “Saves Lives at Sea”.  The charity has been running since 1824 and I am pleased to be able to give some of my time to help in their important work. Note to self: “remember to wear my lifejacket every time I go to sea”.  CICK HERE for more info on the RNLI

And secondly, I am really delighted to have been asked to support Wings for Life, a Spinal Injuries charity.  As a Friend of Wings for Life I will be helping to promote them to help raise much needed funds for research.  Every £1 donated is £1 towards research – they have zero overhead costs, and they are supported by an amazing group of athletes including David Coulthard.  CLICK HERE for more info on Wings for Life.  More on W4L later.

I took the keys to my new office last month.  If you are passing Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, pop by and say hello although I won’t be there full time for a few more weeks.  The Guard House is right by the HMS Vernon Gate entrance.  It’s not the biggest office at Gunwharf but I think it has the most character and is only a few yards from where Wetwheels is moored.  Note to self: “try and keep focussed whilst working and not sneaking off to see my boat”

Wetwheels has had the most amazing summer.  18 days as the lead media boat during the Olympic sailing regatta in Weymouth (if you watched any of the sailing on the BBC, it was being filmed from Wetwheels). Picture shows Wetwheels with £500,000 (half £million) Olympic Broadcasting Services camera fitted to her bow.  She then spent a week as a VIP guest boat at the Paralympic sailing event taking out LOCOG and Paralympic dignitaries.  After a quick sprint back to Southampton, Wetwheels formed part of the Suzuki Boat experience at the PSP Southampton Boat Show and, in 10 days days of exhibiting, took more than 150 disabled people for powerboat rides, of which 60 were wheelchair users. Thanks to skipper Paul and my crew of James Read and Karen Read. Thanks to all of Wetwheels’ sponsors and supporters for making this possible.

We had a great few days in Norway courtesy of the Crazy Cod Camp in September.  Mike, Paul, Elaine and I spent a day (2 x 2hr flights pus 3 hour ferry) travelling high into Arctic Circle to island of Arnoya to do some Extreme Fishing.  Sadly the 200kg halibuts evaded our best efforts but Mike did bag a monster cod.  3 days of non-stop fishing in spectacular scenery then another day spent travelling home. CLICK HERE for more info on the Crazy Cod Camp and some more oversized fish.

This past week saw Elaine & I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I know, I know, we don’t look old enough and yes, very funny, you don’t get that for murder, but 25 years it is. Thanks to all of those who came to our celebration at the Royal Southern YC on Saturday, what a party..!

Finally, meet Wilf.  Wilf joined us a couple of weeks ago after his predecessor, our best friend Max passed away after 14 great years.  Wilf is an Irish Terrier and he has much to learn.  Peeing, Pooing and Eating are Wilf’s current favourite past times, much the same as most males.  He has yet to discover lady dogs.  More of Wilf next time.

23 Comments have been made

Paul Hartley says:

You are most definitely an inspiration to all of us who are fortunate enough to come in contact with you. Without any hint of my usual sarcasm you are most definitely my hero!

Amanda Jukes says:

Loving your wedding picture – Congratulations on 25 years together x
Congratulations on all the above!
You have so much stamina and determination – you remain my inspiration
Lots of love Amanda x

Kate Laven says:

Congratulations on all of that Geoff and to Elaine for putting up with you all these years. It would be triffic to catch up soon – and looks like I shall be here for next couple of months so I’ll call you you and put date in diary!! Lots of love xxx

Mike Wood says:

Well Mr Holt I am very impressed, from Challenger days to Challenging days, I wish you the best in all you do. Regards, Mike Wood

Jocelyn Jones says:

My Dear Geoff, Nothing you have evr done was with awards in sight. You have given so much of your life to helping others and, I agree, you are a constant source of inspiration. My own congratulations on your new post as Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. Mary Fagan is a great lady with whom to work. The Cordon Rouge Club looks enormous fun. Delighted that you are amongst equals too. Much Love, Jocelyn

Chris Barnes says:

Swords, fish, champagne, puppies………There has to be a rude joke in there somewhere?
So good to see you both last week and raise a glass – to the next 25 years?
Chris & Barney x

Dorcas Munday MBE says:

I am so pleased about all the Honours you have, because you give so much encouragememt to other people. I am delighted for you and wish you well in all you do.
I live in Northamptonshire, a long way from the coast, but one day I might be able to see your wonderful boat and maybe you.
Take care and enjoy life to the full!
from Dorcas

Geoff and Elaine firstly thanks for a great party it was lovely to see you. I look forward to one day…..having a more in-depth chat.

Geoff a massive congratulations on your latest honour, very well deserved love Allison xx

carol lewis says:

Congratulations on 25 years. Hard to believe. Bet Tim is proud of you both. Sorry about Max but he did have a good innings and was quite a character, Wilf will have a lot to live up to, Carol

Hello Geoff,

Just read your latrest newslettrer and I shouted Hallelujah when I read that you had been invited to be a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. What a brilliant decision. You will be absolutely marvellos.

I also love the wedding day pic of you and Elaine and send you both armsfuls of love and good wishes for the next 25 years.

You know we love you both.

I hope they invite us back together to Radio Solent for another read of the Saurday papers. I loved buttering your jam
Winchester Writers’ Conference
Uni of Winchester

Tony Leeks says:

Gordon Bennet, you have been a busy boy! Congratulations to you and Elaine on reaching 25 years. As you now have a sword to brandish, does the Deputy Lieutenancy let you wear some Medieval uniform so that you can round up a scurvy crew? Wilf looks a bit of a character, look forward to meeting you both when you take up residence in MY guardhouse! Can you drop me an e-mail when you take up residence.

Lesley Gumbrell says:

More good stuff Geoff . .The three of us a
are all delighted for you . not a lot of sailing here trhis year for various reasons . we’d like to ride on Wet wheels next year if possible . .

Hi Geoff,

Many congratulations on receiving your latest honour. Well deserved too.
I love your new dog. Being a massive dog fan, I’d love to meet him sometime .
Keep up the good work.

All the best from
Stephen H.





Many congratulations to you both, on your wonderful anniversary of 25 years, which has been filled with so many fond memories.. You are an exceptional person Geoff, who deserves nothing but respect and admiration for all your many unbelievable achievements. and the support you have received from Elaine is also truly inspirational..

With kind regards,

Moira C Dean says:

What is it with you Geoff? You unfailingly convey your keen sense of humour in all your writings. A gift which may journalists would do well to emulate. Thank you for everything you do, and Elaine too too. Such a joy. How ill you manage to keep your figure though with all those champagne outtings….

Moira C Dean says:

what is it with you Geoff? You unfailingly convey your keen sense of humour in all your writings. A gift which many journalists would do well to emulate. Thank you for everything you do and Elaine too. Such a joy. How will you manage to keep your figure though with all those champagne outtings…??

Catherine and Richard says:

Many gratulations on being made Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. Also congratulations on your Silver Wedding Anniversary. Sorry to hear Max is no longer with you but you will have fun training Wilf.

What an inspiration you are to everyonbe, we admire you immensely.

With very best wishes
Catherine and Richard.

Champers, swords, 7-course dinners, catching giant cod in the Arctic Circle – Geoff you are an example to us all!
Now Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire as well as an MBE…I tug what is left of my forelock to you!

Hazel says:

I am lost for words Geoff – you are amazing! What next??

Emma Harlock-Smith says:

Geoff and Elaine

We always enjoy reading what you are up to. The kids like to follow your adventures. Sorry to hear about Max! Congratulations to you and Elaine on 25 years. Hope you are all well. Take care and hope to see you again soon.
Emma, Ian, Sophie and William x x x x

Vic Rolfe says:

Many congratulations on recieving deservedn recognition for all your achievements . Helping to raise the profile for disabled people to accesss water based activities. . I know you will keep it going..
Best Wishes to you and Elaine for the next 25 years of marriage.


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An ex-professional yachtsman with many ocean crossings under his belt, Geoff Holt was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984....

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