A deeper dive...
When Amy’s annual leave goes into the Gifted diary, the question on everyone’s lips is where is she diving this year? The next tentative enquiry is usually framed around how many sharks she’ll be swimming with, followed by an enthusiastic discussion about marine conservation. ‘Sharks are amongst the most majestic and misunderstood creatures on the planet’, she often reminds us, which explains her support of anti-shark finning campaigns and initiatives that encourage cleaning up the world’s oceans. ‘It’s about the small steps, just as much as the big ones,’ she says. ‘This year we’re trying hard to halt the flow of plastic coming in and going out of the house. It’s actually been great to ditch the supermarket milk cartons and swap them for glass bottles delivered by the local dairy instead.’
A dip into Andrew’s out of office life would have to include his longstanding interest and involvement in local government. As Leader of Warwick District Council, his spare time is often spent with constituents or colleagues, working through local issues and bringing new plans into fruition. A lesser-known example of Andrew’s extra-curricular passions involves fruit of a different variety, the humble English apple. Pictured here at the annual village cider pressing weekend, Andrew is clearly looking forward to next year’s vintage. ‘I love the way Savage’s Cider is the outcome of a genuine community enterprise,’ he says. ‘Neighbours happily share the glut from their gardens - and just occasionally, we make time to get together and sample the environmentally friendly elixir.’
Sport has played a major role in Chris’s life with cricket being his lifelong passion and golf a more recent love. Having been lucky enough to have played professional cricket as a young man, Chris carried on appearing for Richmond’s 1st XI until well into his late-40’s. He remains deeply involved in the game as Chairman of Richmond, a member of Middlesex CCC’s Executive Board and most recently as a member of the MCC’s Members & General Purposes Committee. Lord’s is almost his second home! After eventually hanging up his bat and keeping gloves, he turned his attention to golf. Chris is a regular for the County Cricketers’ Golfing Society, the golfing extension of first-class cricket’s family. He says, ‘It’s an absolute honour to play with old friends and new, whilst enjoying competitive hospitality from the finest clubs in the country.’
Whilst black runs and long hacks may be amongst Susan’s favourite downtime pursuits, we all know that if you show Susan a hill, she has to climb it. Usually with a fundraising target in her sights, Gifted’s Financial Director is definitely a woman of altitude and loves nothing more than lacing up her boots and bracing the elements. She does, however, admit that the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, completed in under ten hours, nearly killed her. ‘It was brilliant and brutal all at the same time,’ she says. ‘At the end of 24 miles, traversing some of the most stunning hillsides in the North of England, I’d never felt so exhausted or so exhilarated.’
Interestingly, Julie was eager to point out that one activity she doesn’t share with husband Andrew, is cider drinking. So, given time to herself she prefers either to be outdoors training for a challenge event or back at the desk indulging her other love, creative writing. ‘Whether running, cycling or just walking the dog, the world outside feels like a great partner to the place we inhabit inside our own heads,’ says Julie. ‘The best ideas can often come from a woodland stroll or the total, bone freezing shock of a Wolf Run. Ideas like, I’m never, ever going to let anyone persuade me to do this again!’