I studied at Cardiff University but in my first year I didn’t do any sport – the only game I played was poker. Then, in year two, my housemate convinced me to go to a pool kayaking session with him. Five and a half years later, I’m still doing it.
Slightly randomly, our company is a member of a liquidated stock website. We’ve bought things like breathing apparatus in the past but one day balloons and pressurised tanks appeared on the site. The stock was from a commercial balloon rides company that had gone bankrupt. The balloons weren’t any good for learning in, but the manager put me in touch with my local club.
My interest in shooting goes back to when I was young. I used to go out with my uncle: we would go fly fishing and I would also watch him shoot, so I had a good understanding of the countryside. I’ve always been interested in rifles, and I joined the army when I was 16 and went into the Scots Guards.
A few years ago, I had a cleaning business. One evening in 2012 I was cleaning an office and met a lady who was working late before going to rugby training. I had no knowledge of rugby union and she encouraged me to give it a go. I was intrigued and went to Harrogate Rugby Club soon afterwards.
Last year, my mother, my wife and my son all had major surgery, which made me think about how valuable the National Health Service (NHS) is to us. Then I saw a TV programme in which the presenter, motorcycle entrepreneur Henry Cole, met a blood bikes group. I found my local group, Derbyshire Blood Bikes, at an event in Crich and I signed up. I started riding for them in December 2016.
I’ve always been an outdoors, hunting type of person: shooting, fishing and all those things. My grandfather was a gamekeeper, so it runs in the family. I trained as a chef in Switzerland and I was given all the dirty jobs, from gathering herbs to collecting dead animals from farms and I loved it. I returned to Wales to care for a poorly family member, and I really got into the great outdoors. I trained in bushcraft and got all the qualifications, and now I run coastal bushcraft courses and forage walks, and give talks on wild coastal living. The courses I put on range from basic bushcraft to wild cooking.
My father-in-law was known as the Convoy Cowboy, after the village he came from in County Donegal. As far back as the early 1970s, he collected all the cowboy gear: the holster, guns, saddle – the lot. When I married into the family, I took up the hobby too.
I’ve always been interested in Japan and sword arts so in 2004 I started doing Kendo, which is the martial art where you wear protective armour with a grilled helmet. Then, around eight years ago, I started Iaido as well. I am now black belt 3rd dan (rank) in Kendo, and black belt 4th dan in Iaido.
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