I spent all of my early working years in the hospitality industry rising to a Managing Director appointment. In the early 1980’s I realised a life long dream with my wife, Angela, by acquiring some old farm buildings in East Sussex and converting them into a restaurant with rooms. We ran the restaurant happily as a family until our son Paul, then aged 16, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 1984.
I already knew too much about blood cancer as my mother had died of leukaemia aged 42, in the late 1950’s
After extensive treatment in Bart’s Hospital, London – Paul’s prognosis was favourable yet after a few months the disease returned and despite newly released treatment, he lost his fight and died in August 1985.
The family had been fundraising for Bart’s during these challenging months and we were subsequently encouraged by Paul’s consultant to seek ‘fundraising in the high street’ as a better means of bereavement therapy. Not long after that I occasioned upon a charity collector on a wet winter morning with the word ‘Leukaemia’ on the tub. A discussion followed leading me to join the Yeovil & District Voluntary Branch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
I was soon elected as the representative of the branch to attend Regional Meetings, where in 1991 he was elected Regional Chairman for the Western Region gaining a place on the Board of Trustees.
I really enjoy helping with activities that are about enjoying fundraising and led the Weston Bikeathon team for almost ten years, assisting in the national promotion of the Blue Peter Bike events and for many years I also acted as the site manager on the day for the Richmond/Ham House part of the London Bikeathon.
I have also been the Collections Organiser on every Sir Ian Botham Walk since 1992 and acted as the Walk Manager on ‘Tetley’s Trek’ lead by Jeremy Guscott.
I remain a Trustee, standing bi-annually for re-election, and was appointed to the Finance & General Purposes Committee in 2000 and, later, as Vice Chairman of the Board 2006 which suits my interests in governance and continuing to ensure that ‘Fundraising is Fun’.