On Tuesday 25th September, at a ceremony in the Great Hall, Winchester, I became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. Asked some weeks ago by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, DCVO, if I would like to become one of her Deputies, I was extremely honoured by such a request to represent my County and, of course, was only too pleased to accept. Seated beneath King Arthur’s Round Table in the Great Hall, it was a fitting historic setting for the event. Thank you to all those who have written in congratulation, it is much appreciated and I look forward to performing my duties, whatever they may be, when called upon.
Unfortunately, being a Deputy Lieutenant does not bring with it the right to brandish a sword. Fortunately, being a member of the Cordon Rouge Club does. Well, maybe not brandishing it, but certainly using it to take the tops off Mumm Champagne bottles. I’ve been a member for a year now but it wasn’t until recently that I was presented with my sword and other goodies at a magnificent Cordon Rouge Club dinner in London. Accompanied by some of the greatest explorers and adventurers like Dee Caffari, David Hempleman-Adams, Mike Golding, Ben Fogle et al, we were treated to an exceptional 7 course champagne-paired menu cooked by a Michelin starred chef. OMG. What a treat. For a really interesting short video about the Cordon Rouge Club and to see some of the other inspirational members, CLICK HERE. You should have seen me trying to sneak a sword onto the midnight train from Waterloo to Southampton, luckily I wasn’t spotted by any police.
Ladies Day on Wetwheels including Shelley Jorey-Leigh and the inspirational Natasha Lambert
With so many commitments, unfortunately I am unable to help as many voluntary organisations as I would wish and it is always difficult to say “no”, especially with so many worthwhile organisations doing such great work. But there have been two approaches recently that I could not refuse. In May I became a Council member of the RNLI, the charity which “Saves Lives at Sea”. The charity has been running since 1824 and I am pleased to be able to give some of my time to help in their important work. Note to self: “remember to wear my lifejacket every time I go to sea”. CICK HERE for more info on the RNLI
And secondly, I am really delighted to have been asked to support Wings for Life, a Spinal Injuries charity. As a Friend of Wings for Life I will be helping to promote them to help raise much needed funds for research. Every £1 donated is £1 towards research – they have zero overhead costs, and they are supported by an amazing group of athletes including David Coulthard. CLICK HERE for more info on Wings for Life. More on W4L later.
I took the keys to my new office last month. If you are passing Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, pop by and say hello although I won’t be there full time for a few more weeks. The Guard House is right by the HMS Vernon Gate entrance. It’s not the biggest office at Gunwharf but I think it has the most character and is only a few yards from where Wetwheels is moored. Note to self: “try and keep focussed whilst working and not sneaking off to see my boat”
Wetwheels has had the most amazing summer. 18 days as the lead media boat during the Olympic sailing regatta in Weymouth (if you watched any of the sailing on the BBC, it was being filmed from Wetwheels). Picture shows Wetwheels with £500,000 (half £million) Olympic Broadcasting Services camera fitted to her bow. She then spent a week as a VIP guest boat at the Paralympic sailing event taking out LOCOG and Paralympic dignitaries. After a quick sprint back to Southampton, Wetwheels formed part of the Suzuki Boat experience at the PSP Southampton Boat Show and, in 10 days days of exhibiting, took more than 150 disabled people for powerboat rides, of which 60 were wheelchair users. Thanks to skipper Paul and my crew of James Read and Karen Read. Thanks to all of Wetwheels’ sponsors and supporters for making this possible.
We had a great few days in Norway courtesy of the Crazy Cod Camp in September. Mike, Paul, Elaine and I spent a day (2 x 2hr flights pus 3 hour ferry) travelling high into Arctic Circle to island of Arnoya to do some Extreme Fishing. Sadly the 200kg halibuts evaded our best efforts but Mike did bag a monster cod. 3 days of non-stop fishing in spectacular scenery then another day spent travelling home. CLICK HERE for more info on the Crazy Cod Camp and some more oversized fish.
This past week saw Elaine & I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I know, I know, we don’t look old enough and yes, very funny, you don’t get that for murder, but 25 years it is. Thanks to all of those who came to our celebration at the Royal Southern YC on Saturday, what a party..!
Finally, meet Wilf. Wilf joined us a couple of weeks ago after his predecessor, our best friend Max passed away after 14 great years. Wilf is an Irish Terrier and he has much to learn. Peeing, Pooing and Eating are Wilf’s current favourite past times, much the same as most males. He has yet to discover lady dogs. More of Wilf next time.