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HANNAH SAUNDERS (PIKE)

 

In October 2016 Hannah featured in one of our Alumni newsletters.  This is what she wrote then:

Hannah Saunders (nee Pike) studied at the High School from 1997 to 2004.  She is just completing her career in the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant.   Hannah told us a bit about what she has been up to since leaving school.

“I left the HSFG in 2004 and headed straight to Loughborough to study geography, inspired by Mrs Banwell! I graduated and disappeared off to America for a year of work and travel, as a nanny and a gymnastics coach—this included  a summer with Camp America. 

Being obsessed with sport and keen for adventure, I then joined the RAF. This led me to RAF College at Cranwell, with 9 months of officer training involving hard fitness, running around in the wilderness with a rifle and air power and leadership studies – all of which was punctuated with very little sleep.

I graduated from Cranwell in 2009, and since then life has been an adventure - lots of travel and plenty of challenges.  Remaining a sports obsessive, the highlights for me have been learning to ski,

windsurf, sail dinghies and yachts, climb, mountain bike and winter mountaineer.

I’m finishing my regular time in the RAF in the headquarters, where the challenges are very different - managing budgets, senior officers’ expectations and ministerial questions.

I remain fond of the RAF and would highly recommend it. It has given me a Masters, a family (I met my husband in the RAF, and we now have a little boy), and it gave me the opportunity to put myself in positions that have pushed me further than I ever thought. I remember an exercise on top of a remote mountain, in a complete white out - there was snow up to our thighs and we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces.  We were hopelessly lost without any visible navigational features and to top it off we’d run out of water (we’d been away from our water source for 14 hours, so had to eat snow to hydrate). 

For added excitement, according to our map, there was a huge ravine an unknown number of meters to our left!  As light faded my friend Andy fell suddenly out of sight - off the ravine we all thought! Luckily he had only fallen 12ft and mildly sprained his ankle.

I’m now looking forward to my next adventure – running my own business.”

And this is what Hannah is up to now, in 2020:

In terms of an update, I've had a very interesting time since I left the RAF!
 
I set up a business called Toddle (www.toddlebornwild.com). I sell adventure skincare, suitable from newborn. 
 
In the last 2 years, I managed to win a pitching competition (like Dragon's Den), called Pitch it Wales. I received £50k of equity investment from that and then got £150,000 from private investors. 
Start Up Loans - Training. An XFE beneficiary, and former RAF officer, has won a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition to secure the top investment of £50,000 for their children’s skincare business.

 

 

I worked for 2 years with Glyndwr University (funded by the Welsh government) developing the range of skincare including the world's first natural probiotic hand gel, it includes cultures as the active ingredient instead of alcohol. 

 

 

I have now launched the business into the National Trust, Joules and onto Amazon Prime and am in talks with Boots and Waitrose. I was awarded the Welsh Women's Entrepreneur of 2019, I was one of the 2020 Welsh 35 under 35, I also won business start-up of the year at the Heroprenuer awards (Veteran Business Awards). We've also started our export journey, selling now in Cyprus, Germany, Taiwan, Poland, The Baltics and we're about to launch into the US.