March 31, 2020
What do you consider to be the greatest feat in business and why?
The launch of the Greggs vegan sausage roll, a guilty pleasure of mine. The way Greggs brought this to market – creating a social media storm, causing many meat eaters to descend into an apoplectic rage over something as harmless as a microfungus-filled pastry – was hilarious. How this boosted sales, profile and corporate image was genius. All that and a brilliant North East company.
What is the greatest physical feat you’ve witnessed by an individual and why?
I have unfathomable depths of respect and admiration for my wife, Deb, for giving birth to our eldest son. After 52 hours of exhausting labour, Deb eventually delivered David to the world, who weighed in at an impressive 11lb 13oz. All done on nothing more than gas and air.
It was amazing to witness and I have to admit that I was completely shocked that anyone could give birth to what was essentially a toddler. David’s brothers, Joe and Evan, appeared at a relatively modest 10lb 12oz and 10lb 5oz over the next few years.
What about by a group or team?
Again, something quite personal to me. My youngest son and I were rescued last year by the RNLI. The team of three on the inshore lifeboat worked together as one, with well-rehearsed calm, efficiency and effectiveness. They were totally in control and rescued us from what was quite a perilous situation. I’d never really thought much about the RNLI and the fantastic service they provide (funded 97 per cent by charitable donations), but now have total respect and admiration for the professionalism and humanity demonstrated by this amazing organisation of volunteers.
Which demonstration of intelligence/mental strength has most impressed you?
I’m very much taken by Greta Thunberg’s approach to environmental activism. Her simple, thought-provoking and extremely effective messages and actions seem to have struck a chord with millions to help awareness of what she describes as humanity’s existential crisis due to global warming. The bile and vitriol thrown at her from some quarters have further amplified the power of the ‘Greta Effect’. All from a 17-year-old diagnosed with Asberger Syndrome. She’s truly inspirational.
Which act of generosity has inspired you the most and why?
Any act of generosity from someone with very little or no resources is always hugely more inspiring to me than an act from the rich and famous. I’ve witnessed many of these in my lifetime but anyone with a generous spirit who carry out simple acts of benevolence always blows me away and makes me more determined to do more myself.
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