I’ve had a read through the responses and chosen some of my favourites – it was really tough to choose as everyone had such wonderful stories of overcoming adversity, entrepreneurial spirit and kindness. It’s reaffirming to read how people are out there changing the world for the better every single day.
The winners below will receive copies of Finding My Virginity and some special notebooks with a letter from yours truly inside, urging you to never lose the thrill of trying things for the first time.
There were so many great competition entries that I want to give away a few more copies of my autobiography – and there’s still time to enter as the competition closes on December 4th.
The first round of winners are:
- @tb_thinker: Nominating @NeuroRebel, who unapologetically stands out in front of the crowd and says "I'm #ActuallyAutistic". If more would take that on in the same manner she does, we'd achieve #neurodiversity #acceptance sooner than later.
- @andrewtc04: Hi Richard - Nominating my business partner Doug (@dougall) who grew our little startup into a UK tech heavyweight while I was busy kicking cancer’s butt.
- Jeannie Clarke: My 8-year-old son Thomas. Whilst too young to read your book for himself, coupled by the fact he’s dyslexic, I’d read snippets of your insights and anecdotes to him. Thomas gives 100% in everything he does but all too often his confidence gets knocked when doesn’t do as well as he would hope to. I’d like Thomas to learn to see his dyslexia as a strength and not as a disadvantage and think that your story would help him to do so. Thank you!
- Heidi Bacon: My son who is in a slump between jobs right now but is downright brilliant - his mind is trapped in Quantum physics and is constantly inventing amazing new solutions for the world's problems, like a way to stop crazy out of control wildfires in their tracks, how to save people from drowning when a boat capsizes, creating a new type of telescope, how to monitor the inside of a tornado to name a few. Your book would be the inspiration he needs to have to go from idea to reality - he actually reminds me a lot of you because of the way he thinks outside the box. I'd love to present him with your book.
- Kagen Cox: My brother Alex Cox. He has dedicated his life to eradicating malnutrition around the would. He started a peanut butter company called Good Spread so that every time someone is buying food for themselves they are helping good spread. You see part of the money made from selling Good Spread is given to a nonprofit called Mana. My little brothers is a inspiration to me and I am so proud of him!. We often talk about you Richard as a inspiration to both of us. Thank you.
- 6square: I’d like to nominate @kadnpt. Not only has she supported me through the launch of my own business (and now works with me as well) but in her “spare” time she volunteers countless hours to help make our city by the sea more sustainable. Each week she dedicates time towards ocean conservation, whether it be the efforts to ban plastic bags or gathering people together to network. Her passion is sustainability and she is combining her skillset with her passion to make our community a better place to live. She is a big fan of yours and follows your efforts daily (with a big interest in Ocean Unite). I know that she would be thrilled to receive your new book.
- deezlicious: My mother @nicquee18 . I know everyone thinks their mother is the best. My mother is more than a conqueror , she has raised 3 children alone since the age of 15 , strugged thru life, is now married and helping raise her step kids , the youngest being twin 8 yr olds. I am the oldest, my mother had me involuntarily at 15 years old. So her whole life has been about making ends meet to raise and provide for her children and family. We have had to live in a shelter, my mother ended up going to hair school and becoming a hair stylist and works 15 hr/day and also working as a bartender just to provide for us. The kicker is that she is so smart and creative and has the most amazing business ideas, she is driven and hard working, but something is missing to take her to the level that I know she is destined to go to. I truly feel that your books will take her there and help her achieve the mindset and necessary information she needs to bring her amazing ideas to life. Obviously I love my mother , we have made it thru hard times together, but I believe in her and I want so much more for her. I know alot of people are Deserving and want these books, I just know If you only met her once I know that you would see what I see and not hesitate to give her the books!
- Jeremy Rutherford: Hi Richard. My 11 year old son, Reuben, has always struggled at school and recently asked why his brain doesn’t work the way other children’s do. I like to remind him that school is not geared up for everyone and there are people out there who have made a tremendous success in life following their own instinct and creating their own measures of success. I've often mentioned you in this and it would be lovely for him to receive a simple token of acknowledgment from you personally! All the best, Jeremy. (A proud Dad!)
- Julie DeSilva: I nominate my 19 yo son, Dylan. He is trying to find his way as a young man with a language-based learning disability. He attends community college in the morning and works at a local restaurant every afternoon. He struggles in school and has no idea what he wants to do. I often share your articles with him and tell him that very successful people have had similar challenges and that he will find his way. We have had many challenges as a family and he steps up daily to help any way he can. He is so approachable and positive and bursting with potential, I would love for him to get inspiration directly from you! #FindingMyVirginity
- Rachael Classi: I nominate Peter Classi. He is a first time father to a beautiful 6 month old girl, is working at an amazing health care organization bringing life saving drugs to people in need, and is getting his PhD in epidemiology to continue work in global health. He is balancing so much but continues to show up for his family, friends, and colleagues and be an example for fathers everywhere.
The second round of winners are:
- Kristina Murray Hally: Hi Richard, I also nominate my mentor, JK for being generous with his time, knowledge and expertise.
- David Clark: R, my nominee is Karen Sorab who is the originator of BeyondAutism, a charity set up to serve autistic children in specialist schools. She is an inspiration to us all who didn’t listen when people said no. Any help for the charity would be gratefully received #beyondautismuk
- Nigel Staples: My amazing big sis Chris Morgan, on top of all this, she is a breast cancer survivor from the age of 26 and has been thru so much suffering in her life but never gave up and always has a smile for everyone. She is truly one in a million!
- Daisy Lynch: @WouterTorfs A Belgium entrepreneur who believed in me/my small startup even when I still had so much to prove. He helped me in my first project to find a job for a homeless man. One of the most amazing experiences ever. A pure soul wich made me believe in the good in this world
- Laurie Hinde: I nominate Corinne Hindes, who at 18 years old, has run her own nonprofit, Warm Winters, for 7 years, helping train youth to help their homeless community members across the US, Canada and Australia. Now she is trying to figure out next steps, whether to continue her higher education or jump into running her charity full time, and the guidance would be so amazing for her!
- Katie Wilson: “Mum, Mum, I made £20 at school today!” Um, I looked and felt nervous at this. My daughter Ella had decided to buy a whole load of sweets from the pound shop and sell them on at school. Pretty sure there are rules against this but I felt proud. Ella is 15, has dyslexia and never gives up! The school system still fails a lot of young people and Ella seems to have knock back after knock back. Outside of school she works two jobs, she coaches gymnastics to young children with learning difficulties for £1.50 an hour! But loves it and won’t give up. She also waitresses and seems to love that too. I have no doubt Ella will be successful but I wish her confidence could be boosted to show her it’s ok if she doesn't get A’s at school, her dive and work ethic will make her a success. I'd love her to receive your book. Katie, a proud and impressed Mum! Xx
- Sunaina Patel: Hi Richard, if I won I'd like to gift this book to my dad who came to the UK from East Africa with nothing. He worked hard, set up a shop, dreamed big, set up a nursing home and then set up night clubs in Bradford and Morley. My dad put us through private education to give us the best chance in life. He paid for school trips to give me the best experience in life and I was fortunate to even meet you on a netball under18 trip to Barbados with my school Fulneck. My dad has always been my inspiration and pillar of strength and he too has been through the highs and lows of business and life (losing everything but fighting back). My dad did and continues to do everything for us. That's me and you in 2002 on Virgin Atlantic with Fulneck Girls School :)
- Matt Gesualdi: Hello Mr. Branson, I am nominating my beautiful wife, Tari. She is my hero, intelligent, hardworking and much more brave than I ever will be. She's entering the male-dominated field of general contracting and is looking for inspiration in every direction . Tari is very driven and wants to encourage other women to go in non-traditional directions. Her dyslexia has been both a hindrance and strength, as you well know. Your book would give her an additional boost in the direction of kicking major ass. Please consider her and have a great day. Matt
- Bradley Adams: From my understanding the movement about #findingmyvirginity is about life as one big adventure and to approach challenges as opportunities to succeed. In the spirit of #findingmyvirginity I do not think there is anyone more deserving than my Mom. She is currently in a phase of her life where she is yet on another adventure. After years in the accounting field (which she has no official education in but thought it would be easier to learn by experience) she is starting her own company with the goal to create a stucture that would allow women to work from home, continue their careers, and not infringe on their choice of being a mother. I am proud of her resilience, determination, and vision to help women avoid the choice she had to make years ago.
- Louise Preece: I would love to nominate my son Steven Clark. He works at BMW in Oxford but his passion is flying. Every Sunday he's at a flying club doing the 'rubbish jobs to earn himself flying hours. He has successfully gained his PPL of his own back and would love one day to be an airline pilot. We came along to one of your apprenticeship days and then Steven applied as was ridiculously excited by what he had seen. He was so upset when he never got a response but we figured you would of had a lot of applications. Anyway he keeps on and as an inspiration I believe one of your books would give him encouragement to keep his dream alive of one day being an airline pilot. Thanks Louise x
- lmmoore68Hello: I would love to nominate my son who found out he was dyslexic and dyscalculia a year ago. He was at school in 6th form studying his A levels in biology, pe & psychology. He/we had no idea he had this problem until it became so difficult and frustrating trying to study his A levels and knowing that he knew all the information but could not get it down on paper. When we had him checked they said he had done so well to get through school and gcse with this and reckon his brain had put something in place to help him. The teachers then thought it best if he left where he was studying and all his friends he’d made since year 6, and move to a huge 6th form college to study a Btech in sport science and exercise he’s had to overcome many hurdles in 1 year and personal struggles to do this but he’s done it and applied for university he’s had 4 of his choices back offering him unconditionals including his first choice university. He managed all this including losing a close friend and my mum his nan this year I would love for him to have your book to give him more inspiration for his next chapter thank you #findingmyvirginity
I’ll use this blog to collate the winners and hopefully put a few more smiles on people’s faces. Here are the Ts & Cs for good measure.
It’s better to give a gift than it is to receive – that may be a cliché but it’s true. Thanks for joining the fun.
You can buy a copy of Finding My Virginity on Amazon now