Everyone is passionate and committed to the Project. Although having a wealth of experience individually, everyone works together as a team to achieve the aims and objectives.
Jackie Connell has always been concerned about our environment and the need to bring a more meaningful and spiritual aspect into our lives.
In 2000 the direction of her life became crystal clear when she first heard Dr. Horace Dobbs speak on The Johnny Walker show on BBC Radio 2 about his latest book ‘Dolphin Healing’ and his research ‘Operation Sunflower’ to help people with mental disabilities. She set about making contact with Horace, finding out as much as possible about his work and that of International Dolphin Watch by volunteering her services.
Working as a Secretary/Administrator for The Centre for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise and PA to the Centre Head at the Open University, monitoring budgets, supporting academics with preparation of working papers, preparing lectures, typing and editing books, organising events and travel etc., it was not long before she was putting her expertise to good use helping Horace and International Dolphin Watch in her spare time. With the help of a small team of volunteers, she organised 2 very successful ‘Dolphin Healing’ conferences held at The Open University.
After the first conference in 2000, one of the Presenters, Richard Conibear who set up The Alexander Trust to support other special needs families after his son was born with cerebral palsy, asked Jackie if she, together with her husband Terry, would consider being a Trustee for the Charity. The Open University supported her charity work by giving her an Award for Personal Development and funded her to attend a training course in London ‘Working for a Charity’ which covered all aspects of managing a charity.
At the next 2-day International Conference in December 2003 people came from all over the world and many said that it was the best conference they had ever been to and had changed their lives for the better. At this conference a prototype portable Dolphin Dome was on display. This was to be used to research whether the benefits of a dolphin encounter could be reproduced without using live dolphins, but with technology, sounds and images of dolphins. Whilst this concept is currently being explored further, Jackie is helping Horace and the Czech Republic Team with the development of the Dilo Cocoon in which children can experience some of the therapeutic effects of dolphins using Dilo, a fictional dolphin created by Horace, along with art and music. Jackie hopes that research will help to make the healing power of dolphins universally available to all and will eventually lead to Integrated Dolphin Education and Learning incorporated into schools, making learning a joyful experience and recognising the potential of all who live with disabilities.
Having personally experienced the effects of swimming with dolphins in their natural environment in the Bahamas whilst she was on holiday in Bimini, Jackie now wants to share that wonderful experience with as many people as possible, especially those with disabilities. Having gained support from individuals and organisations in Bimini and those that have experience in working with people with special needs, she founded the registered charity ‘Operation Sunshine Family Therapy Programmes’. She believes it is important not to focus just on the dolphins, but to include alternative therapies, appreciating the environment, learning about different cultures by integrating with the local community and working with the school children on arts and crafts. This dream is now becoming a reality. Supported by volunteers who share Jackie’s vision, fundraising is ongoing.
Jackie feels very fortunate to have the support of her devoted husband Terry who shares her vision.
January 2006 Jackie resigned from her work at the Open University, allowing her to spend more time to develop her passion to help dolphins and special needs families.
Dr. Horace Dobbs BSc.PhD.
Dr Horace Dobbs PhD is a pioneer undersea explorer. He founded The Oxford Underwater Research Group and has won numerous international awards for his books and films. Dr. Dobbs is a multi-discipline scientist who has published papers on atomic physics, pharmacology and medicine. He has studied powerful drugs that affect the brain and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The direction of his life changed when he saw his son given a ride by a wild dolphin. In 1987 he founded International Dolphin Watch, a charity dedicated to protecting dolphins and understanding their relationship with humans. In his search to unravel how swimming with dolphins could help those in clinical depression, in 1986 he set about finding out how dolphin healing works. One result of his research is Dolphin Dreamtime, a ‘sound pill’ based on Australian Aborigine lore, which is now used extensively therapeutically.
To introduce youngsters to the mysteries and often magical lives of dolphins, Horace started writing a series of children’s books about a make-believe dolphin he dubbed Dilo. In a co-operative business venture with a school, Horace used the publication of Dilo and the Treasure Hunters to give pupils practical experience in the creating of a commercial enterprise with due concern of the environment. This led to a further programme looking at ways in which dolphins can help children with learning difficulties. This resulted in another book IDEAL – Integrated Dolphin Education and Learning.
Around this time Horace was also developing the concept of using the latest technology to create an interactive sensory environment that would artificially reproduce the life enhancing experience of encounters with live dolphins. The outcome – a large dome that could accommodate entire families – a prototype was successfully demonstrated at the International Conference – Bringing Together Science, Nature and the Arts – exploring the healing power of dolphins, at the Open University in Milton Keynes in December 2003.
Horace then turned his attention to developing a much smaller dome, relatively inexpensive to produce, that would make the benefits of encounters with dolphins readily available to children of all abilities around the world. The Dilo Cocoon is now undergoing trials in schools in the UK and Czech Republic.
Camera Underwater (Focal Press)
Dilo and the Call of the Deep (Watch Publishing)
Follow a Wild Dolphin (Souvenir Press)
Dilo’s Fun and Activities Book (Watch Publishing)
Save the Dolphins with forward by HRH Prince Philip (Souvenir Press)
Fascinating Facts about Dolphins (Watch Publishing)
Dilo Makes Friends (Watch Publishing)
The Magic of Dolphins (Lutterworth Press)
Dolphin Healing (Piatkus Books)
Tale of Two Dolphins (Jonathan Cape)
Dance to a Dolphins Song (Jonathan Cape)
Snorkelling and Skin Diving with forward by HRH Prince Charles (Illustrated Press)
Dilo and the Witch of Black Rock (Watch Publishing)
Dilo and the Treasure Hunters (Watch Publishing)
Classic Dives of the World (Oxford Illustrated Press)
IDEAL – Integrated Dolphin Education and Learning (awaiting publication).
Journey Into Dolphin Dreamtime (Jonathan Cape) - (awaiting publication).
Dance to a Dolphin’s Song (Jonathan Cape)
Ride a Wild Dolphin (YTV)
The Magic of Dolphins (ITV)
A Close Encounter (Channel 4)
Eye of a Dolphin (BBC)
Bewitched by a Dolphin (HTV)
The Dolphin’s Touch (TVS)
Man and Dolphins (NTV)
Dolphin Dreaming (BBC)
Terry Connell retired in 2000 as a Director of Quirepace Ltd www.quirepace.co.uk - one of the leading suppliers of air tube systems in the UK, although he is still involved as an owner of the company. His experience is in electronics/engineering and company management. He is our Webmaster and enjoys helping out with all things technical. He is also the Webmaster for International Dolphin Watch and, together with his wife Jackie, has been supporting Horace and his projects for a number of years.
We are very pleased to announce that Julie has joined our team as a Trustee.
Julie has had a past career as a nurse and community midwife and spent the last few years in the health field working in a Sure Start community development programme in York.
Since 2004 she has focused more on healing and personal development work and has spent her time between the UK and Bimini, Bahamas.
She is a Reconnective Healing and an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioner in the UK. In Bimini she helps to host and facilitate wild dolphin experience weeks and has been a support worker for Operation Sunshine programmes held in Bimini.