Interview with Edward Denmark
Who or what inspires you?
People who go through life giving more than they take, those who really care about others, people who have courage but don’t know it
Were there any life skills you learned from your experiences as a soldier that you found useful later in your career as an author and speaker?
Yes, I learned to be honest about my own mistakes and weaknesses. To give the people honesty and look them in the eye even when that feels awkward. You are who you are.
Of all the obstacles you’ve overcome, which has been the most challenging?
This is by far the most difficult question and I simply cannot answer it with one answer because if I did so it would be very disingenuous of me. So there are a number that stand out and they are.
- Childhood poverty. I had to find belief in myself and understand that I was as good as everyone else.
- War. After seeing action in the Falklands war and Northern Ireland I had to reconcile with myself that my experiences had changed me and those changes could be used in a positive way not just for my own benefit but for other people.
- Following a road traffic accident I managed to save one person but was unable to save another. It took me many years to realise I had done my best for that one person who died but I couldn’t save them.
- In June of this year I underwent a gruelling Stem Cell Transplant for blood cancer. The volume of chemotherapy administered was life threatening and there was a real threat to life during my isolation recovery period. I was also recovering from five breaks in my spine.
How did you begin your speaking career?
Many years ago I was asked if I would speak to a squadron of young cadets about war and it went very well and they wrote me letters when they went into the army thanking me.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
One member of the audience asked me if we had executed the pilots who had ejected from their damaged aircraft during the Falklands war the answer was a firm NO! And I went on to explain they were cared for very well and given a nice cup of tea!
How do audiences gain from your keynote presentations?
I think any audience I speak to will first of all recognise I have been through my fair share of adversity and tragedy, but more importantly I think they will understand that regardless of how bad a situation you may find yourself in, no matter how desperate, you have got to keep hope and stay positive. Be grateful for what you have and use it to the best of your ability. I think and indeed hope that any audience will gain the knowledge that life can throw anything at you, and you are much stronger than you think.