What is the best thing about your role?
I have the best job in the world. I travel around Cornwall, meeting new and existing supporters to tell them of the work we do for the fishing community.
I previously spent three years as a welfare assistant at the Fishermen's Mission, meeting active and retired fishermen and their families. My role was to provide pastoral and practical help. It was a truly enlightening role for a man born in Birmingham who knew nothing about the sea. I could see the fruits of my work before my eyes. Supporting those who’d been widowed, helping fishermen who had been made homeless, getting medical treatment for life-changing injuries and being at the quayside to chat over family crises are just a few of the ways we help fishermen and their families. Everyone is unique and every piece of support is tailored to their needs.
That experience was eye-opening and incredibly rewarding. Although I was then part-time, I used to volunteer to work on throughout the day. When my fundraising colleague retired I was of course delighted to accept the role. I knew first hand that our work made a real difference and those experiences will continue to motivate me.
What advice would you give to a new fundraiser just starting out?
Our work is about relationships, so value them. Value the volunteers you have and work with them closely, imparting as much as they need to know so they can do their role to the best of their abilities. Don’t give up: count any knocks you take as experiences gained. They take you one step closer to your goal.
What do you do to switch off from work?
I find it genuinely hard to switch off. I was born into a business, so business talk was always around me. I began my working life in the hospitality industry, which meant long hours and precious time off spent with friends and family. To relax I go out sailing with my family or head out cycling by myself.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My earliest memory was a real desire to be a song-and-dance man, like the actor Tommy Steele: this was after I watched the film Half a Sixpence. I looked good wearing a straw boater, hat and a cane in my hand, but I was lacking two major skills: coordination and talent. At college I told a girl I was trying to impress that I would work for a charity and fundraise. After college I went to university to study hotel management, and that was my career path for 15 years.
Which fundraiser do you most admire and why?
In 2013, as a new, inexperienced and part-time fundraiser, I approached my fundraising director, Alison Godfrey, with an idea for a fundraising book. It was a risk: the biggest cost was the printing of the book. Alison took that risk and took a risk on me. The return in terms of money was tenfold, it raised incredible awareness and produced many more opportunities thereafter. I have never forgotten the belief, trust and respect offered to me by Alison.