Wendy Morrell’s life is marked by achievement. The active geocacher, Dorsetgal & GeoDog, just logged her 2000th find. The milestone marked another major life event. Wendy’s 2000th smiley came at a Flash Mob Event Cache. The event was organized to cheer Wendy on as she carried the Olympic Torch with her service dog Udo.
She wrote a note on the event page that helped explain a bystander who rushed through security to hug her, “Honestly, no matter how much I write I cannot explain how I felt today, it was truly emotional. So pleased that Udo took it in his stride, and seeing so many friends and family was amazing… The lady who managed to breech the security bubble and give me a hug was my 79-year-old Mum!”
Wendy’s journey to carry the torch for the 2012 Olympic Games in London began with a friend’s recommendation. The recommendation read, “An inspirational person who’s turned full circle, overcoming disability to become a math teacher, lecturer, pilot and a national standard archer, held two national records and was training to represent GB when a training accident caused a severe brain injury, when struck with a discus… She’s internationally known as an advisor on assistance dog matters. Wendy plummeted [into] the depths of despair following her brain injury, but now is the woman about town, tirelessly representing the needs of others.”
Wendy was chosen as an Olympic Torchbearer during the 55th day of the torch relay route. Wendy and her service dog, Udo carried the flame part way through the southern England city of Upton.
Wendy says incorporating geocaching as part of her journey as a Torchbearer seemed natural, since geocaching has been such a significant part of her life, “As a brain injury survivor, I sometimes struggle with motivation and organisation, geocaching has helped me cope at times when life has been pretty hairy, and I’ve met some really fantastic people, and made lots of great friends. I may not be the fastest, or be any good at climbing mountains but I enjoy the diversity geocaching has to offer, I’ve found geocaches in 19 countries, including Russia and China and at the moment am joint first in the UK for US states visited.”
Wendy held a Geocaching event the day after she carried the torch. Geocaching friends from the US state of Minnesota traveled to the UK to be with Wendy on that day. She says the event was organized to, “give them (the US geocachers) the opportunity to meet some local geocachers and for folks to get to see the Olympic Torch up close!”
This is Wendy’s second opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch, admitting sometimes lightning strikes twice. She says, “My first experience of carrying the Olympic Torch was for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, I carried the Olympic Flame across London Bridge. I’d been nominated then as an ‘everyday hero’ in a contest run by a national newspaper, for campaigning for equality for disabled people. ”
You can watch a BBC story on Wendy’s journey to be honored as an Olympic Torchbearer twice. While lightning may not strike a third time, this cacher isn’t done with accomplishing geocaching feats.
Wendy helped organize the Geolympix Mega-Event in Oxford, England. You can visit with her at the event this weekend. She says, “I’ll be giving a presentation on accessible geocaching and holding one of the side events for GeoDogs!”
There’s more achievement ahead for Wendy. She says, “I’m due to complete my 366 day grid on July 24th and my 7th cachiversary is on August 15th!”
Leave a message here for Wendy, and if you’re at the Geolympix Mega-Event say hi!