The ‘Spotter’ in me.

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The summer has arrived and before you think that I am getting ahead of myself, I don’t mean endless days of warm sunshine.  Now, that would be amazing but a bit farfetched even for my positive ‘glass half full’ attitude.  What I mean is the light evenings have arrived.  It’s great to be able to go for a walk, kick football in the park or go for an ice cream after the kids finish school. The only downside is trying to convince my kids that it ‘really is late’ and ‘you must go to bed’.  Surely it must be time for a barbeque.  I am away off the mark this year, usually when there is a glimmer of sunshine I am outside utensils in hand.  Not this year, yet!  I don’t think I can face scrubbing the grill.  Anyhow Easter is just around the corner and I’ll need to bite the bullet.

This week has gone by in a flash.  On Thursday I went to watch the Premier League Darts in Belfast.  I have been to this event many times and have always loved it. The atmosphere is crazy and great fun but this year there didn’t seem to be as many there as usual. Generally people are scrambling for tickets but this year at least one full bank of seats in the arena was left empty. Maybe there was a reason for it. Some of my friends however were left frustrated as they would have loved to go but judging by past events naturally assumed it would be a sell out. Always best to check, lesson learned.

On Friday I hosted the Co.  Antrim FA Annual awards dinner.  This was the second year I had the pleasure of doing so.  The special guest was Northern Ireland legendary footballer Jimmy Nicholl.  Jimmy, still involved in the game at St Mirren and Northern Ireland as the managers number 2 had some amazing stories to share from his time playing for Manchester United, Rangers and Northern Ireland including going to the World Cup. He was funny, charismatic and down to earth and certainly lit up the room.  I really enjoyed the chat.

Saturday morning came early and I headed for Balmoral Park on the old Maze site outside Lisburn.  Now synonymous as the venue for the Balmoral Show it is also the base for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland.  It has been well documented in this part of the world how important it is for this service to operate.  I got to take a look around the helicopters that are in service and hear how they operate and also how in demand the service actually is.  Although it’s relatively new, the team has been on over 800 missions saving lives.  What they do is amazing but what is incredible is how much it costs to run. They need to fundraise £2 million per year.  That is some going.  If you would like more info click here:

Finally this week I got great pleasure chatting at a Royal Television Society event.  I was part of a panel dedicated to talking about their journey into presenting.  The RTS Futures events aim to give those aspiring to get into the media an insight from those currently working in the sector. I really wish these types of platforms existed 20 odd years ago when I was taking my first steps.  On the panel alongside myself were two people who I have got to know over the years.  First up, UTV news anchor Paul Clark and Vinny Hurrell who presents on Radio Ulster and works on the Nolan Show.  I loved hearing about their journeys, the ups and the downs and what they have learnt along the way.  I also loved answering the questions from an audience that live and breath the media.  The spotter in me could have chatted all night.  The two-hour window just wasn’t enough lols.



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