Environmentalist, former GB Rower and Cambridge University Alumna, Melissa Wilson, supports BRIT
We are delighted that Melissa is part of our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. In the autumn of 2021, Melissa and double Olympic Sailing Champion, Hannah Mills, brought together over 50 Tokyo Olympians and Paralympians from around the world, including flag bearers from 35 different countries, challenging World Leaders about the urgent need for ambitious climate action.
“As a former student, and having spent time with young athletes as a Great Britain rower, I am aware of the increase in mental health challenges faced by many young adults and students. It is vital we do more to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK in order to avoid long-term consequences on their health and wellbeing.
I hope every UK university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union, embraces the annual BRIT Challenge, enters teams and encourages student and staff participation. The BRIT Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enables students and staff of all abilities to take part, at home or on campus, in many different ways; hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding).
It is inspiring that every university and college team are invited to choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities. As an environmentalist, I hope students might consider choosing charities that encourage climate action and supporting our environment.
It has been a pleasure to support BRIT for a number of years now and I urge Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers to join our BRIT Ambassador family, promote the BRIT Challenge at university or college of their choice, help destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I look forward to supporting and encouraging students and staff at the University of Cambridge and hope that all 31 colleges at Cambridge enter teams.”
Environmentalist, former GB rower and Cambridge University Aluma
Melissa took up rowing while studying at the University of Cambridge and rowed in the Women’s Boat Race in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She won silver and bronze medals at the 2014 and 2015 World Rowing U23 Championships and finished seventh in the single sculls at the FISU World University Rowing Championships in 2016. Melissa was stroke of the victorious Cambridge blue boat for the 2017 Women’s Boat Race. She made her senior debut in 2017 at the World Cup in Lucerne, racing to sixth in the women’s four. She then went on to race with Cambridge teammate, Holly Hill, in the Women’s Pair at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, finishing fourth. In 2017 and 2018, Melissa was a A-Finalist at the World Rowing Championships. Melissa retired as an elite athlete in 2021 and led several campaigns as part of Champions for Earth, working to unlock the potential of athletes as advocates for the planet. In September 2020, Melissa wrote to the UK government calling for a “green recovery” to the pandemic, in a letter that was signed by more than 320 British Olympic and Paralympic athletes. After the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Melissa teamed up with double Olympic Sailing Champion, Hannah Mills, who in 2019, founded the Big Plastic Pledge to reduce single use plastic in sport. Hannah and Melissa founded Athletes of the World and believe that athletes have a unique opportunity to make positive change in this world, using sport's platform and its capacity to unite people behind an ambitious goal; by channelling the qualities athletes use all the time; resilience, teamwork, courage, ambition, adaptability and staying focussed under pressure, they believe we give ourselves the best chance of success. In the autumn of 2021, Hannah and Melissa brought together over 50 Tokyo Olympians and Paralympians from around the world, including flag bearers from 35 different countries, challenging World Leaders about the urgent need for ambitious climate action.
In November 2021, delegates from around 200 countries attended the COP26 conference in Glasgow. COP26 is the global climate summit with leaders from around the world coming together to agree their climate commitments for the coming years.
The athletes’ appeal is made in a video called Dear Leaders Of The World;