Helen Skelton – From Rags to Riches
Born on the 19th July 1983 and growing up in Kirkby Thore in Cumbria, which is only 1 hour from where I live, Helen Skelton is said to be one of Cumbria’s most iconic figures.
She attended Kirkby Thore Primary School and then Appleby Grammar School and graduated from Cumbria Institute of Arts in 1999 with a BA in Journalism. Whilst she was studying at the Cumbria Institute of Arts she also worked on the Coronation Street set as an extra. Helen told me ‘It was a great way to see how TV works.’ I believe that this may have been quite boring for Helen as she may have only been on screen for a couple of minutes but it was a great way for her to make her mark on TV. It may have been boring but whilst she wasn’t acting she was observing how TV works and what different roles entail, for example, what the producer has to do, what the director has to do etc. This would have been a great way for Helen to decide which role she wishes to work in. Whilst studying at college she also volunteered at CFM Radio to gain some experience.
Early in her life she focused on journalism and presenting, in 2005 she became a breakfast presenter on BBC Radio Cumbria which is one of Cumbria’ biggest radio stations. This was very exciting for Helen as this was her first major professional role. Helen used this role to make her mark on the Radio scene and has worked her way up since.
After this, Helen moved down to London to work on Newsround. Newsround is a BBC children's news programme, which has run continuously since 4 April 1972, and was one of the world's first television news magazines aimed specifically at children. It would have been very hard to travel from Kirkby Thore to London and would be really tiring but this shows her dedication and determination to succeed in her chosen career path.
Helen is most well known for her work on Blue Peter. On 28th August 2008 she replaced Zoe Salmon and became the 33rd presenter of the show. Helen left Blue Peter in September 2013.
On Blue Peter, Helen took part in many adventures. In 2009, she ran 78 miles across the Namibian desert for the Ultra Marathon making her the second person in the world to finish the marathon. A year later she kayaked the entire length of the Amazon, 2000 miles, which made her the first person to complete this challenge and, in 2011, she tight roped between the chimneys of London's Battersea Power Station, suspended more than 66 metres above the ground.
Last year, Helen trekked for 18 days through severe snow storms and temperatures as low as -48C to the South Pole. She felt intense pain all over her body but described the experience as ‘incredible’. Helen also set a new world record for the fastest 100km by kite ski which was seven hours and twenty eight minutes. Helen camped for 30 days on ice, consumed 50 portions of dehydrated food, use 15 metres of medical tape on her feet, had only one wash and one change of clothes.
Helen said, ‘This has been a massive...