Posted on Leave a comment

What’s in a name

Full CBD range wooden heart

What's in a name

What’s in a name? Big Chief Hemp, Our company name, is a homage to a Great Man.

James Forward, The man, the myth the legend, exploded into this planet in the 1950s.  He left a considerable mark, on many a life. 

James was commonly known as Jim.  He had gravitas as I’ve never experienced before, in a fellow human being. 

A few of his nicknames; were James, Jimmy, Big Jim, The Chief, and The Guru of Maidenhead.  These are the names or titles if you will, that stick in my mind the most.

Full CBD range wooden heart

bitter sweet

It was bittersweet. I was only honoured to have been in the great man’s life for a mere three years before he left this earthly realm. 

Prior to meeting him, I’d heard of him for many years.  Jim’s reputation; was larger than life but I’d had never had the pleasure of his company. 

When our paths did eventually cross; he made such a big impression on me.

A love affair of minds.

in his honour

My business partner and I felt compelled to name our company in his honour. 

It felt like the natural thing to do.  Our company is based around Nature’s Gift, we count the Big Chief as nature’s gift to the planet.

I felt utterly robbed of a friendship that I never fully got to explore.  The time with him was too short.  Although, he would laugh, as the Chief saw me for exactly who I was after only a few meetings.

Our Chief was very funny, he loved to wind people up.  Similarly, He would ask very probing questions. Although you were unaware the probe was occurring at that moment. 

He positively polarised people.  This left him with a fantastic, large and eclectic group of friends.  A toxic presence was not welcome or tolerated. It’s a beautiful ethos and one which I try to emulate.

in his honour

Conversations around Jimmy flowed, they were provocative and stimulating.  Jim adored a good philosophy session. He was sharp and very open to new ideas. 

His home had a revolving door.  Folks leave and arrive at different times, day and night, all bearing gifts.

He nursed the vulnerable and nurtured those who needed a father figure or a friend. Jim had great Love and some short flings, he had a lot of respect for women. He felt women’s place in this world was equal to any man’s.

While he was very caring, he also loved hearing a bit of gossip (quietly). He was brutally honest. It was always a lesson, sometimes a tad harsh. Only ask Big Jim a question if you are looking for an honest answer. The man was not a fan of sugar coating anything unless it was appropriate.

A prolific reader of books and he listened to bonkers music.  I referred to it as a psychedelic taste in music.  He loved to party and enjoyed a good festival. 

His home was always full of music, love, cannabis and friends.  At the end of a long evening; he had some tunes that could clear out a room to go to bed  When Frank Zapper and Captain Beefheart came on we all left.

he was out there

As with all spiritual beings, he made music.  Jim loved the bongo and could play them very well.  He enjoyed a good jamming session and had no qualms about trying something new. 

Our Jim was very ‘out there and supportive of your music, even if it wasn’t his cup of tea.  He wasn’t a music snob (as he put it).

The Chief was one of my heroes next to my father and best friend.  He was a mentor; his brief teachings, still ring in my head today.  His ‘sayings’ are still permeating our work and lives. 

When faced with a tough subject, we ask ourselves; “What would the big man say?”.  It’s a daft question really, he was not predictable.  Any answer to a question was not always expected or obvious.

He would often put a mirror to you. He would open your mind to yourself.  This was not always appreciated at the time but eventually understood. 

The chief was an old soul.  I remember all of our encounters. The Big Chief made a significant impact on my life.

Jim taught me, that it was okay not to believe in any denomination, it doesn’t mean there is nothing there.  To ignore the re-written teachings and do y broad research from every angle to find within me, the answer.  The clarity he gave was refreshing and made you realise, that you don’t need to know it all, just enjoy the ride.

tribe of his own

The Big Chief did not conform, he had his own rules and could see the game was rigged.  He played life respectfully by his laws. 

James had a tribe of his own, and we all adored him, that’s not to say he wanted it that way.  He enjoyed his own company.  He could be frustrating at times, but his words always made sense.

Before I met Our Chief, I had zero spiritual feelings and did not believe in any religion or higher power.  At the same time could not get my head around a scientific fact.  The facts are never absolute and forever changing.

He was undoubtedly too clever for most but worked hard to relinquish his ego.  It’s tricky and he didn’t always achieve it.  But he was self-aware and made every effort to be a gentleman unless you deserved otherwise. 

If The Chief told you off, no one asked him why he did it, you were asked what on earth had you had done?

The aurora The Chief possessed was gentle but powerful.  Our sun-worshipper was affectionately and respectfully called The Big Chief.  The Big man was quietly in charge; a tall man who studied Aikido, a self-defence martial art, created to defend one’s self all the while protecting their attackers from injury. 

Art of Aikido is translated as “the way of unifying life energy or often described as “the way of harmonious spirit”.

That’s the most accurate description of Jim The way of harmonious spirit’.

why big chief

Because Jim was wise and not backwards in coming forwards.  He had the highest cheekbones, very prominent. 

An attractive man he did not have the classic look of a European male.  He’d long hair, mostly tied back and didn’t seem to be born of this era. 

Didn’t walk, he glided, his moves eloquent and measured.  He could physically have control of you in one delicate move, by holding your hand, all very calmly. 

His respect had to be earned. And you craved his connection.

James, left behind two outstanding children, adults now with their own families.  A seriously tough journey. When the children were young, they lost their Mum, and Jim lost his love to Cancer. 

James raised the children on his own with help of friends and family and what a fantastic job he did. 

Jimmy leaves behind four Grandchildren, they all adored their Grandfather.

Jim was also struck with Cancer in his 60s’.  His legacy lives on.  The Chief was the perfect Grandad.  Giving them his time and taught them funny lessons and they enjoyed camping holidays together.  He leaves behind a beautiful family who miss him dearly, our loss is Great.

My best friend (partner) had been in his life since his early teens.  The Chief was; his Brother, Father and Uncle all rolled into one.  Big Jim told us that together we could make something magical and help to heal the fractures of our surrounding environment.  He was not wrong. The Chief knew the benefits of Cannabis to the planet, the economy and to medicine.

James Forward

So when people ask What’s in a name? Big Chief Hemp, would not have existed if it was not for Jim. 

He pointed out the obvious and encouraged us and gave us the drive we needed.  We tired him out with it in the end.  But we are eternally grateful for his love and guidance. 

He loved our mission, and I just hope he knows what an impact he had on Big Chief Hemp and us.

My final hope is that we can serve his memory justice and achieve our dream of helping and healing, with nature.

As I write this, the date is very significant, it would have been The Big Chief’s birthday today.

James, we raise a glass and a pipe in your honour today 14th August 2020.

Amatam Memoriam

Big Love

Mandy x

Posted on Leave a comment

My Storey

My journey to CBD oil and Big Chief Hemp

I’m Mandy, the founder of Big Chief Hemp and would like to share my storey with you.

I’m often asked why we started Big Chief Hemp and what got me into Hemp and CBD products.

CBD has been a gift to me and my family, Mother Natures Gift.

Full CBD range wooden heart

Growing up in the army

I was born in the early 1970s, in the legendary Pied Piper town of Hamelin in Germany, the year after my father joined the army.

Throughout my childhood, my family moved back and forth between England and Germany.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I learnt Judo at the army barracks close to where we were living, at that time, in Germany. This was an incredible experience. We entered many competitions and trained hard.

The Dandelion is the official flower of the military child

And so it begins

Fast forward a few years, I’m now in my early 20’s, living in England and my dad has left the army. I am working as a credit controller and raising a beautiful daughter.

One morning, I woke up and everything changed. This morning would be the day that my life was turned on its end. I woke up with my neck and back in agony, which made me think that perhaps I slept at an odd angle and strained a few muscles while sleeping – so I gave it a few days.

The pain wasn’t getting any better; it was getting worse. I couldn’t open doors, I couldn’t stand up straight, and I couldn’t sit down without being in pain. So, I made an appointment with my GP.

The long and short of it; Diagnosis: Facet Joint Degeneration & Degenerative Disc disease.  Most of us get this in old age, I just came early.

Arthritis at 28?!

To improve my core strength and to try and create more support for my spine, physiotherapy is recommended.

But as the months went by, the pain was getting worse and worse – there was no way I could continue physiotherapy; it was too painful.

It was back to the drawing board, and this time my first pain specialist, suggested that we tried steroid injections.

A few weeks after the injections, the pain in my back was even worse than before the injections.

keep taking the tablets

It was beginning to feel like everything I tried was just making me feel worse, and in even more pain, but didn’t want to give up. Called my GP again to see if there was something else we can try to relieve some of the pain, so I was then referred for an MRI scan.

When the results of the MRI came back, I was given the same diagnosis. The Pain Clinician “It’s not that we don’t believe you, but we can’t find anything else other than your original diagnosis”.

So, I was told to keep taking the pain medication that I was prescribed and hope that one day the pain eases.

Is it all in my mind

I didn’t go back to any specialists for two years after this, purely out of embarrassment. Was it all in my head? My pain levels were much higher than they should be. Was I just weak?

My life had changed so much in just a few years, and the doctors couldn’t help me.

I had gone from an active independent woman to struggling to get out of bed or lift a pan without being in extreme pain

IS judo responsible

During this time, still working full time, and after two more years of pain, I decided to contact my GP again to see if my spine could be re-examined.

I was referred for a CT scan (computed tomography), so the doctors could have a different look at my spine.

After just a few days, I received a call from the surgeon’s secretary asking me to go to the hospital as soon as I could because the surgeon was staying in his office after work waiting to talk to me.

I knew this had to be important, so I left the office, grabbed my daughter from the after-school club and rushed over to the hospital.

Arriving at the hospital and sat down in the surgeon’s office. The radiologist had found a fracture in my spine, tucked away.   *This is almost five years since my issues began.

Sounds odd, but I cried with joy, the doctors have found something to treat, and it wasn’t my imagination. 

It transpires that; must have fractured the lower spine in my youth while my body was still developing.

An old injury

An old fracture that will not heal.

Double spinal fusion

The surgeon advised I would need a double spinal fusion to fuse a few vertebrae to try and eliminate painful motion and restore the stability in my spine.

During the surgery, he had to remove a bulging disc altogether and popped in a cage in its place.


What did my future hold?

Now moving into my 40s; new kneecaps are required; I’ve had an arthroscopy on both knees and am too young to get the knee replacements.

All in all, my body has aged much quicker than it should have.

My career came to an end; our entire Accounts team faced redundancy.

So that was that. My storey.

Thought, that was my last job as I deemed myself unemployable.

Grieving for myself

Since my first diagnosis, my marriage broke down, made redundantly, and my body was gradually losing mobility.

Grieving for myself I’d gone from a physically independent and financially independent woman to suddenly, not so independent.  A big shift.

Seems daft now, but I resented having to use a wheelchair occasionally.

Until you realise you are still one of the lucky ones.  Cognitive behavioural therapy through the NHS. A fantastic online chatroom service.

The online Therapist taught me mechanisms to realise the positive things about myself and to look at what had been achieved, and still to achieve, in my life.

‘Glorify who you are today, do not condemn who you were yesterday, and dream of who you can be tomorrow’ – Neale Donald Walsch

pain relief

Since the first day, I felt back pain I had been trying various pain relief medications; my GP worked with me to try and find the best combination of medication and dosage that would help me.

We tried so many pain killers and anti-inflammatories, but they either didn’t agree with me, had too many side effects that I didn’t want to risk, or made me feel even worse, I’m opioid-intolerant.

My Pain Management Consultant (Consultant Anaesthetist), works with me so I can have a treatment that keeps me alive/sane; ‘Pulse Denervation’, every four months. I feel blessed;

The fabulous NHS give me the procedures needed, twice per year. I pay for one further treatment a year privately.

Without these injections, I simply cannot function; life is unbearable, utterly impossible.

discovering cbd

One day I decided to start looking for herbal remedies.

We discovered articles about the plant “Hemp” and its potential benefits to the environment and as an alternative to plastics.

After some thorough research about Hemp, I found out that it was the CBD oil (Cannabidiol) and other Cannabinoids in Hemp that was behind potential wellness benefits. I decided to give it a try.

After talking about Hemp and CBD with one of my neighbours, she said that she had also heard about CBD and would bring me some Hemp paste to try.

Big Chief hemp is born

While using CBD oil myself,  found it to be very expensive and couldn’t understand why.

Wanted to bring CBD oil to the market at a reasonable price so more folks could reap the benefits of this natural product – so launched Big Chief Hemp. 

All the while maintaining my independence and creating a new path for myself.

Am passionate about the benefits of Hemp derived products and provide naturally grown broad-spectrum CBD Oils and Hemp products. 

We are pleased to offer a premium product with an improved price tag and work towards being farmers of this incredible plant.

My dream is to have a hemp farm in the UK and begin a CBD charity for those who cannot afford the Oil regularly…One day! watch this space.


its a journey

You can join me on my journey, and join our Pow Wow, subscribe to my Newsletter. It is not issued monthly, just when we have some news.

And see where My Storey goes

 If you would like advice about any of our products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, simply email us at [email protected]