Meet the Wooden Spoon Chilterns Committee
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ChairmanI was first introduced to Wooden Spoon by the landlord of my local - The Hatchgate in Burghfield Village near Reading. He was a keen rugby player and we raised money for the charity in the pub. We used to go on the Christmas cruise every December, it started with four of us going from the pub and built up over the years to about 30 locals. At the end of the 80s there were three boats that used to go from Hobbs Boat Yard in Henley but now we are down to just one boat which takes up to 70 people.
I eventually took over the pub and carried on fundraising for the Spoon. I was invited to some of the projects to see the work that benefited the young people in our area and when I retired I joined the Chilterns Committee eventually becoming Chairman in 2020.
Over the years I have seen what a difference Wooden Spoon can make to young people’s lives and the gratitude of their parents to our work. This is why I continue to support the Spoon in the Chilterns region.
I have two memorable moments from the past - The first one really puts into context what the charity is about. We visited a school in Slough where we had provided a sensory room for their disadvantaged children. One young lad had been so traumatised he hadn’t spoken for a long time. With the help of our equipment he eventually got better and managed to record a short message which was played to us on our visit. It was very moving.
The second memory was on one of our Christmas boat cruises where we stopped on the river just past the start point for the Henley Regatta races. As we were singing our Christmas carols Sir Matthew Pinsent came by and shouted at us for interrupting his race training. All in a good cause.
TreasurerI have been a member of the Chiltern’s Wooden Spoon Committee for over 20 years. I have held the position of Treasurer during this time. Raising and controlling income and expenditure from organised events is an important part of this position. However, the most enjoyable and rewarding part is selecting and investing in projects which range from Sensory rooms to wheelchairs for rugby and then seeing the smiles on the faces of children using them for the first time.
I am a qualified Accountant and have worked in the airline industry for the majority of my career with various major European and international airlines. I enjoy travelling for both work and pleasure. I also enjoy many types of sport and relax by watching and playing some of them too.
Social MediaMy recent retirement, after 45 years in industry, has allowed me more time to enjoy other interests and to give my support to Wooden Spoon. With a lifelong interest in rugby I feel this is an ideal match from playing in my formative years, to supporting my son during his time at Maidenhead RFC. My son and I now have a shared bond in the support of Sale Sharks and England.
Wooden Spoon, and my role within the organisation of developing awareness of our social media, offers the perfect opportunity to match my skills alongside new interests in contributing to an organisation which helps improve the lives of young people.
President of Wooden Spoon
President of Wooden SpoonAs one of the original founder members of Spoon in 1983, Nigel’s association with the Charity is approaching 40 years, during which time he has served on Council as Deputy Chairman, Regional Co-ordinator and Trustee. He is currently President of the Charity, and he sits on the National Projects Committee which has responsibility for managing the approval process of the 70+ requests that the Charity receives for grants each year.
He started the Midlands and Chilterns Regions, in the late 1980’s, and is a past Chairman of both. He remains an active member of the Chilterns Region Committee, raising funds for projects in Berks and Bucks.
Nigel worked in the security industry for over 20 years, but in 2006 started his own lawn treatment company, Supagrass Thames Valley which he sold and retired in 2015. He is married to Sue, lives in Maidenhead, and his main interests include rugby, cricket, golf and somewhat unusually, a collection of corkscrews!
RecruitmentI joined Wooden Spoon ten years ago for two important reasons. A love of sport and rugby in particular, combined with a desire to help young people who have not had the same chances in life as myself. Although I was a rugby player through my school years and then for several seasons afterwards I never attained a high level. I hovered instead around lower teams at Kettering, Nottingham University, CAV, Abergavenny and Sevenoaks. I normally played at scrum half but had a few games at blindside flanker. My last game was in Kinshasa against the Zairean army when I was forty. Thirty minutes each way on a sandy pitch.
Helping disadvantaged young people through Wooden Spoon is incredibly rewarding personally. Disadvantage, either through physical difficulties or personal circumstances blights young peoples’ lives and it is a privilege to support them and help them enjoy life better than they otherwise would. That is why I am a Wooden Spoon member.
Regional Ambassador and Partner Rugby Club Progammes
Regional Ambassador and Partner Rugby Club ProgammesWhy Wooden Spoon? - I first became involved with Wooden Spoon after attending a St Georges Day Sportsman’s Dinner at the Rose Room Twickenham in 1987 (4 years after the charity’s inception). It was a wonderful evening and I heard about all the amazing projects Wooden had started to undertake and wanted to undertake in the future. As a proud rugby playing Welshman, I was delighted to celebrate an English Wooden Spoon! (Wales have a number over the years). I became involved at national level (Trustee for 21 years and Head of Governance for 4 years) and within the Chilterns region involved in the committee and events. I have met some wonderful people who dedicate so much time to helping achieve our objectives and as always associated with rugby the esprit decor is wonderful.
Best Wooden Spoon Memories -
1. At the project opening at Camp Mohawk, I was able to view the incredible enthusiasm from the staff and volunteers at the site, the wonder on the faces of the participants, the joy from local Wooden Spoon supporters and the sheer energy and commitment of our Patron HRH Princess Anne.
2. Many years ago at a Sportsman's dinner held at Adam’s Park in Wycombe, I compared the event and introduced for the first time our guest speaker Nigel Owen who was an up and coming international referee. He was nervous during the meal, and we didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as he rose to his feet, we all knew we were in for a special night. What a speaker, and what a treat for the audience. A special night and what a fund raiser for the Chilterns region.
Committee MemberAs one of the newer members of the committee, George has joined up as he wants to gain some experience with a charity and see how the foundation works. He originates from the Forest of Dean and after studying at Coventry University, George now lives in Reading.
George cannot wait to get involved with the many brilliant projects that the charity is involved with and hopes he can bring a youthful outlook to proceedings.
George loves all sports, but his main passion is rugby- where he currently plays at Reading Rams.
Committee MemberA lifelong rugby supporter, Gareth has enjoyed attending Wooden Spoon events - and seeing the difference the charity can make to disadvantaged children - for over 20 years, and has now joined the Chilterns committee. As a rugby minis and juniors coach and qualified referee, he has become more involved in the game at grass roots level with Maidenhead RFC, and seen the benefits of involvement with the sport for a wide range of participants. Gareth's playing days were ended by an unfortunate incident while playing tag rugby on Christmas Eve in 2017, but at least he claims to have retired at his peak, aged 49!
During a varied automotive industry career, Gareth has worked in the fields of marketing, sales, training and logistics, and is now involved as a consultant, working with a number of automotive brands across Europe. He is now looking forward to using his knowledge to give a little back to a great cause, and particularly to engaging the next generation of Wooden Spoon supporters.