Twenty-eight year old Gemma Simmons likes to keep busy. As well as working for The Office Group (TOG) as one of their community managers, a role which entails looking after nine of their buildings across London, Gemma volunteers, works out and has signed up to compete in the ‘Unite for Africa’, white collar-boxing event on November 30. Phew!
Gemma’s days are long – at 6.30am you might find her at one of Morning Gloryville’s sober early morning raves in east London, she cycles approximately ten miles each day visiting the TOG offices in her remit, as well as organising ‘after hours’ events for the businesses and co workers who are part of her community. In spite of all of this, she is a self-confessed volunteer junky. In February she headed to Greece to help the refugees landing on some of the smaller islands off its coast, she is a regular volunteer for Calais Action helping with their backpack appeal and she’s a ‘love pixie’, selling love specs for a Malawian charity Love Support Unite.
Supporting charities is one of the reasons that Gemma has signed up to Unite for Africa, a night of white-collar boxing raising money for a hospital and orphanage in Africa. She was unable to take part in the first boxing event that TOG co-hosted as she was out of town – although she was not there in body, she certainly was in spirit as she watched the first round of her friend and colleague Amnita’s fight via FaceTime from New York. What Amnita achieved has inspired and pushed Gemma to have a go herself. She claims that it will be a massive personal challenge to get into the ring, to keep up the ten weeks of training and to try and win on the night but she knows that it’s all for a fantastic cause.
Fitting all of the training into Gemma’s already packed schedule will be the biggest challenge in the next few weeks as TOG has just undergone a massive rebrand and to help communicate this, Gemma is involved with more events than usual. Her days will be longer but she still intends to take part in the twice weekly intensive group boxing sessions, the two fitness classes that she loves as well as one-to-ones with Ben Wood her boxing coach. She feels that if she can keep everything on track over these next three weeks then she’s cleared a major hurdle.
I do wonder just how she does it all – she claims it’s simple, “I love routine so I just need to build myself a little routine and I’ll be fine. I’m learning so much in the group and one-to-one boxing sessions but most of all I’m sharing this experience with an amazing group of people.”
Written by Susan Finnegan.