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Allan Sparkes’ Journey to Recovery

Team Windcraft would like to congratulate one of our Hanse owners – Allan Sparkes CV,VA – now an author!

Al Sparkes’ book The Cost of Bravery is a fascinating read and proves amongst many other things what we at Team Windcraft have long believed – Sailing really is good for the soul.

Windcraft’s Mary Bickley attended the recent launch at Gleebooks in Glebe.

“In introducing the author, Ray Martin spoke warmly about Allan, whom he considers a great mate.

The two first met for the 60 Minutes story on the dramatic rescue of Jai Waddell, an 11-year-old boy, from the Coffs Harbour flooded storm water drain in 1996.

The audience was captivated as Allan Sparkes spoke. Al was deeply touched at how many of the people, so significant to his book and story, were present. He took the opportunity to acknowledge fellow police officers, who in his mind, deserved the same award for bravery.

Many yachties find that getting out on the water helps them de-stress after a tough day and Allan Sparkes is no different. Sailing his Hanse from England to Australia with his family contributed to his recovery from debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Allan implored the guests to encourage anyone they knew suffering depression to seek help. After much book signing by Al, and a celebration in a local pub, it was then home to read the book.

Being moved to tears quickly follows laughing out loud. The roller coaster continues, as at times the story is very confronting. In fact it has all the essential elements to make it one of those “can’t put it down books” One of those elements is a love story, and now l understood some of Ray Martin’s opening words when, referring to Al’s wife he said “this is a story about Deb, written by Al ” Deb’s strength and love for her husband through some extraordinarily tough times is nothing short of remarkable.

The chapters on the ocean adventures that Al and his family had on board his Hanse 470 are inspiring to any of those dreaming of making a similar trip. They are especially interesting to those who may think they don’t have the necessary experience. As Deb had said in her introduction – the fact that they had neither the money to buy the boat and only Al had sailed before was not going to stop them. She knew that to go sailing was an important part of the healing process.

The book is published by Penguin and now available in all good book shops. It is also available in the iBook’s store where it quickly featured in the top reads.

Since the launch of the book Al Sparkes has been inundated with messages from policemen all over Australia, both serving and ex. They are thanking him for being brave enough to write about the mental challenges that so many of them experience but usually silently and alone. To read the story of a man who has hit rock bottom and then pulled himself right back up must surely be a huge encouragement to many suffering the debilitating effects of depression.

Al has since done numerous interviews and has been asked to be an ambassador for Beyond Blue.
It is a wonderful achievement to have a book published by Penguin. In this case that achievement is even more special because the book has the potential to make a difference to many people’s lives.

So buy the book, read the fascinating story and help spread this valuable message”.

The Cost of Bravery – by Allan Sparkes , available in all good book stores click here to purchase your copy