I’m a solicitor, and I was a partner at Harbottle & Lewis, a media and entertainment firm, for 35 years. I’m now a consultant to the firm and a director of a number of property investment companies.
In my spare time I like spending time on the allotment (though it’s pretty neglected), doing watercolour painting (not very talented), snooker, golf (ditto), and I’m a grandfather of 4.
I joined the Board of Trustees of Teenage Cancer Trust in February 2005. I joined because my friend and client Ronnie Harris suggested it, and when I met the other trustees I was even keener to join them.
I think most people probably don’t know exactly what trustees do, and think we have large dinners on charity funds – though I hope they don’t. In fact my fellow trustees are dedicated and serious supporters of the charity.
As a trustee and a lawyer my main contributions are in the unglamorous background work of risk management and problem solving. I do think this is necessary and indeed essential, though not spectacular! I also like to visit units, particularly those far from London.
Teenage Cancer Trust and me
I went through my teens before teenagers were invented. From what I remember I was probably spotty, gawky, insecure and sports-mad. When I grew up I wanted to be the usual daft things - train driver, centre-forward for England. Never heard of being a solicitor then! The best thing about being a teenager is having youth and your life ahead of you, but you don’t really understand that then.
My memories of Teenage Cancer Trust are inspiring, such as meeting supporters, often at the opening of new units, who have raised huge sums for the charity because they have been involved as family or friends with teenagers with cancer, some of whom survived, some not. Some occasions are fun such as visiting units with fellow trustees, most recently a great trip to see the Scottish units and meet the team up there with trustee Richard Rosenberg. And of course there are challenging times, such as helping push through the deal for the Cardiff unit despite practical problems requiring an extraordinary engineering solution.
It is an honour and privilege to be a small part in such a great organisation. Teenage Cancer Trust is a wonderful charity, engaging the skills, dedication and emotions of many great people in an undoubtedly worthwhile cause.