We are very grateful to Phil for taking the time to answer our questions and share with us a few things that you may not have known about him. Phil works for YPWD two days a week and is a member of our services team. Take it away Phil….
Could you tell us how you first became aware of the charity, what brought that about and how you came to work for the charity?
I was working full time as a Kayak and Canoe coach on the Thames in Reading our speciality was and is special needs, when the fairly new charity as it was then, booked up to come down with some attendees to be escorted out in boats on the river, Which they all enjoyed so much they returned time and time again, I then built up a report with many and was offered a job, I love the river too much to completely give it up so I went part time, and now work part time with the charity.
Can you tell us what you do in your job?
Simple really, I talk a lot!, I help to run workshops and on some occasions plan and put them together, on some occasions I go out to meet new individuals to help them integrate better with our bigger groups that attend workshops.
Would you be willing to share with our readers a little about your career, what attracted you to it and what you have done and what else you do now beyond the day job?
This is a big one to answer....... well a long time ago when the wheel had just been invented......Seriously now, my first job was an Engraver which led me onto a print finisher where I rose to the bleary heights of a Manager overseeing all materials coming into the factory, invoicing and reordering, at weekends I helped a plumber out which led me into doing it for my next career move, I was quickly put in the office where again I rose to become the buyer and manage the stores, this is where I lost all my interest for office work …...TOOOOO STRESSFUL, luckily I run a Scout troop and my skill with these was being a qualified canoe Kayak coach which then became my next move and so it goes.
Which skills do you feel are the most important to you in your role at the charity?
With years of talking to complete strangers on the river and being able to manage people I think I am able to put people at ease, and with a vast amount of knowledge being drawn from my many interests and age I find it easy to connect with people sharing their interests.
If you had to pick one thing to be most proud of, from your involvement with the charity, what would it be and why?
Easy, I just love being able to help, putting something back into the community.
If you had to sum up YPWD in just one tweet what would it say (you have 280 characters or 55 words)
I could do it in two words “A family” we all get along great. Everyone is easy to talk to, which means no stress, making the job easier, as that’s the last thing you want to take out on the road, and I must say all and I mean all the bosses are open and very approachable.
Of the many workshops the charity runs which would you say is the one you like/enjoy the most (assuming you can pick just one)?
Choir is the most popular and having a good voice (as many have commented on) I think I fit in, but Katakanuing, Padworth too many to choose from.
Do you have a hobby or skill that you’d be happy to share with us and that you think may surprise our readers?
Ha! I have a workshop so I make things, fix things, I love my gardening, wildlife, history, science, architecture, natural history, but a long time ago I was bought a telescope when I was ten, this started me off into Astronomy and lockdown has reignited this passion as I also did photography a long time ago too - being able to develop my own pictures. I’ve now joined the two together and have started into Astrophotography, check out my short video on YouTube here
What is your favourite meal to cook and why?
Funnily enough I do most of the cooking at home and I love a hot chilli, I tried a curry cake which I baked and bought into the office, it didn’t go down too well, but my chilli flapjacks were a hit.
Where is the most interesting place in the UK/world that you have been and what was it that attracted you to go there?
When I go on any of my holidays there has to be a connection to either history or a natural wonder or something interesting....I’m not a “beach bum”! One place that sticks out is Iceland as I watched Blue Peter with John Noakes visiting this place when there was a Lava flow and he was quite close to it wrapping Snow in newspaper and throwing it on, seeing it instantly burn on TV, I visited the same site some 40 years later where the Lava had cooled but was warm to the touch, I broke a piece off and have it at home.
As we are now all working from home – do you have any ‘top tips’ for our readers to make the day inside fly by that little bit quicker?
I love to start with a walk around my garden 5am and take in what most never see. I sat drinking my coffee and filmed two fox cubs playing ten feet away unaware I was there, when (fox) mum came out of the bushes she took one look, barked, and all ran off! I keep busy planning, fixing and making things for YPWD. I have three computers, two phones and an iPad, these days we are so lucky to have the whole world in our homes how can there be such a thing as Boredom? I do a lot of Zoom video calls where I pop into and share some wacky crazy stuff on YouTube, and also quizzes, what happens next stuff also a good one is old Top of the Pops clips, check out the fashion and dances.
A very in-depth question for you – The Beatles or the Rolling Stones (and why)?
You’re asking an old rocker so it’s got to be the Rolling Stones as the Beatles were nicey nicey and the stones were the “Naughty boys” and loud!