GIven my work commitments, how do I find time to do anything else? You may well ask. The wife does…often.
Berkhamsted Raiders CFC
In 2009, I took on the role of Chair of Trustees and Club Chairman of Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club, which has become one of the biggest and most successful youth football clubs in the country. Berkhamsted Raiders runs 94 teams for 1,300 boys and girls from Under 7 to Under 18, plus a Ladies Team, a Senior Team, a Futsal team, and Veterans, Walking Football and Inclusive Football sections.
Berkhamsted Raiders won the award for the “Herts FA Community Club of the Year” in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2022. In 2015, Berkhamsted Raiders was awarded the national FA Community Club of the Year and in 2016, we reached the dizzy heights of the number two youth football club in Europe, receiving the UEFA European Grassroots Club of the Year – Silver Award 2015. In 2019, we were awarded both the Dacorum and Hertfordshire “Community Sports Club of the Year” awards.
If you want to know how to run a community football club, take a look at Raiders KnowHow, the online guide we created for managers and parents.
I stood down from the Chair Of Trustees role in 2021, and received the “Volunteer of the Decade” award. I continue to be involved in the Club and am currently project managing our new clubhouse development.
In July 2022, I received the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to sport in the Dacorum Sports & Physical Activity Awards.
I spent ten years as a Trustee of BerkoAstro, a charity that operates a football facility at Ashlyns School.
In 2010, we succeeded in raising £600,000 for a state of the art floodlit 3G artificial grass pitch at BerkoAstro, in partnership with Ashlyns School. A £300,000 grant from the Football Foundation was a key element in our success. In 2012, we raised another £160,000 to finance the development of the Paul Beard Centre, a club house facility adjacent to the 3G pitch.
After 11 years of heavy use, the pitch was replaced at a cost of around £220,000 in 2022.
Other roles in sport
I am a long standing member of the Executive Board of the Dacorum Sports Network which brings together community clubs, volunteer groups and public organisations involved in delivering sport in the community and ensuring a healthy and active community – including public sporting facilities providers, local councils, and schools.
In 2021, I joined SportEd, the UK’s largest network of community groups supporting half a million young people, as a mentor. I provide advice to grassroots sports clubs that can benefit from from my experience and expertise in community sport. In 2022, I received the Vanessa Brown Volunteer Award award from SportEd for “Celebrating Diversity” for the work I’ve undertaken helping boxing clubs to become more inclusive.
In 2021, I was asked to join the Council of the Herts FA, and took on the role of Chair of the Youth Committee. In 2022, I was appointed as a Director on the Herts FA Board.
On the canal!
I’m a keen cyclist. Given that the canal towpath around Berkhamsted is less of a challenge for my ageing knees, in 2021, I looked around for ways of supporting our canal network. I’ve ended up as a Volunteer Lock Keeper at the Marsworth locks for the Canal and River Trust. I’m also a Crew Member for Waterways Experiences, a local charity that provides canal trips on the Grand Union for local community groups, the disabled, the disadvantaged and the elderly.
In May 2016, I received the Civic Award from the Rotary Club of Berkhamsted and Bulbourne for my “meritorious contribution” to the town of Berkhamsted and in recognition of the work I have done in growing participation in sport in our community.
I’m always willing to help out with local events for good causes, such as the Berkhamsted Fun Run and Half Marathon. I even ran it once… just the 5K, and not very fast.
In 2018, in his debut season, Matt achieved “Rookie of the Year” and only left the track on a few occasions.
After three years of competition, Matt “retired” from the Championship in 2021. His new role at Prodrive, means that he now spends his weekends supporting the Aston Martin GT4 race team at various motorsport circuits around Europe. His ideal job… and it’s saved me a fortune on his racing budget!
And in my spare time
In an effort to prolong my longevity, I’m a believer that exercise is good for you. So, I’m a regular Body Pumper, Boxerciser and Pilates participant. And a cyclist, although the hills around my town have meant that I have resorted to e-assistance and purchased a Specialized Vado SL to get me up the inclines.
As a former tennis player with dodgy knees, I have discovered the sport of pickleball and joined a thriving local club – the West Herts Wizards – where I play a couple of times each week, and made it to the doubles final in my first club tournament. There’s still life in my ageing bones (and a competitive spirit).
In 2023, I achieved the Pickleball Leaders Certification, and am qualified to introduce newcomers to the sport and run sessions for the club and the local community.
- Ex-member of Stocks Golf Club. I just don’t have the time nowadays. I play about twice a year, so I don’t really get value out of a golf club membership nowadays.
- Current handicap – 17. It never gets better, never gets worse. Known as “Mr Steady”. Also, deserve “Bandit of the Year” for the 45 points I racked up on a trip to Le Touquet.
- Current and past holder of the Le Tookay Invitation Cup, although there has been some unfair criticism of the handicap adjustment system which applies to this event…. It suited me fine.
- In a previous year, I came very close to winning, after a storming last round in which I nearly made up a ten point deficit on the tournament leader. Playing the wrong ball on the final hole put paid to my hopes. A Van de Velde moment.
- Member of the winning team in the Cape Town International Cup 2006.
The mighty Spurs
And of course… I am a supporter of the all conquering (I wish) Tottenham Hotspur FC. Spurs made it into the Champions League final in 2019! Probably a once in a lifetime experience.