International jet setter

That summer I travelled to two new countries. I visited Namibia and Canada back-to-back with only two hours and a shower at Heathrow between flights. Before my departure to Namibia I was introduced to my mentor at The Saints, Tony Hewitt, who lived in Holcot. Rugby was amateur, but the club operated a mentoring system for its young players. This meant that a member of the local business community was appointed to look after you and make sure that you were given the right tools to succeed in your professional life beyond the club. Tony had experience in the commercial property market, which was the career I was about to embark on, and had served on the board of two public companies. He was the first businessman that I was to know properly.

Tony made sure that I was able to go on the two summer tours. He had an important role in my life at a time when I was playing First Division rugby and for England Under 21s. I would visit him at his offices at Wilson and Partners, which were in a fine old rectory. There wasn’t a significant commercial property deal in Northampton that went on without Tony and his fellow partners having some sort of interest in it. This was the company to work for and I was being fast-tracked to have a career with them when I finished university. Tony gave me great advice and helped me to take advantage of the overseas trips that I was offered. In return I would tell him how I was progressing and from time to time, when I stepped out of order, it was Tony who put me right.


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