Most people who know me would say I’m probably not a risk taker and on the whole I would agree. But when I look back on my life, I’ve had my moments. It probably all started when I completely flunked my exams. I was pretty good at school but hated revision. I was too busy playing in the school rugby, football, basketball and cricket teams. At the weekends playing for my Youth football team and my town team of Ware FC, who I made my debut at 15 in the Isthmian League. So I decided to go back and do another year and resit the exams I failed. It became apparent that it would be a total waste of time, a teacher said “it might be worth you getting out and discovering the World Prior.”
Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a peculiar personality, give me a microphone and I’ll talk to thousands with no problem. Put me in a room of people I don’t know and I really struggle. I can’t tell you why but I’ve been like it for years. It all started not long after I left school, as a shy 18 year old I applied to become a Butlins Redcoat. Much to my parents surprise I got the job and off I went to Saltdean near Brighton. My Mum said I’d last a week and I ended up staying four years and I made my way up to Chief Redcoat. After four years I’d had enough and decided to follow In my Dads footsteps and become an Estate Agent. I hated it. After about 9 months I bumped into an old Redcoat mate who asked me what I was up to. He said he’d been working as a holiday Rep and I should apply as it was just like being a Redcoat but you had to sell excursions too. So I did, I got the job and l was packed off here to Mallorca, that was 1990. Once again my Mum wasn’t sure. By now I was far more confident but this was moving to another country. Four years I was a Rep and had the time of my life. My favourite excursion was Pirates, so much so that the boss and complete legend, Jacques Sasson offered me a job. But it meant leaving my ability to travel more, stay in the same place and join a company which at the time was 95% Spanish. Fourteen years I was in the show and helping with sales and once again had enormous fun. I met my Wife Rachael who played Captain Scarlet and we married in 2005. I left the show in 2007 to spend more time with my then 1 year old Son Jacob and to work behind the scenes in the show. In 2008 and 2010 I ran the London Marathon for Great Ormond Street. Now I’m a bit of a fat lad so doing that was tough but I finished. Doesn’t matter if the bin men were telling me to hurry up!
Since coming off the stage there’s been two occasions that I’ve had to fill in for a few days in the show. Could I still do it? Well I managed, let’s put it like that. But keeping up with the younger acrobats 10-15 years later wasn’t easy, but I loved it. The best thing was that my kids got to see me in the show after only ever watching me on a DVD.
In 2011 I decided to set up the radio and that has been a real roller coaster but once again great fun. Working on the radio and particularly the Charity work we’ve done has been the most rewarding and when I look back we’ve been asked to do some pretty crazy and risky things. More importantly though this was risk but with reward as we were raising money for charity. Some of them with my co-presenter Ayesha and some without.
As a Pirate I had long hair for the show so one of our radio challenges was to have it all shaved off. We did it on stage at Europe Day and it got loads of donations.
Do you remember those blow up assault courses that used to be in the sea? Well Ayesha and I were challenged to run against Des and Gordon from the Drive show. They cheated like you can’t believe, Ayesha smashed It, me the fat lad struggled and I’m sure I did my meniscus in my knee that day. That raised 200€.
We were challenged to swim with the sharks at Palma Aquarium for comic relief. Bearing in mind I’ve never dived before this was a tough one. As we got to the top of the big tank you could see their fins swimming around. Have you fed them yet we asked nervously, no we’re waiting for you to finish first was the reply! Blimey that wasn’t the answer we were expecting. We did it though and raised 2,250.00€.
The boys at AVIT Marine, one of our advertisers thought it would be funny to ask me to wear a Spurs shirt for the whole of one of the Radiothons and another year to support them in their remaining games of the season. Remember I’m an Arsenal fan so it couldn’t be any worse. That raised 1,825.00€.
On our last show of one year on the radio before Christmas we were challenged to run into the sea. So on a freezing December day we did it fully clothed and raised 100€ to add to our Christmas Appeal.
I was asked by one of the listeners to do a full body wax. I agreed everything apart from the Crown Jewels! I’d never done it before and it was painful to be honest but after while I got used to it. That raised 850€.
That brings me nicely onto this years challenge. Stewart from The Aviation Centre contacted us to ask if we would like to go up in a helicopter? As always Ayesha was up for it but I wasn’t so sure. I’ve developed a fear of heights not majorly but enough to not really want to go up in a helicopter. We decided to put it up as a challenge and raised 250.00€, to make me go. On the day we met Stewart at their office at the Son Bonet Aerodrome which used to be the international airport many years ago. He gave us a safety demonstration and off we went. As we approached the helicopter he asked if we would the doors removed? What! Are you mad? I said, with Ayesha laughing in the background. We settled on one door to be taken off so Ayesha sit by that one and I could sit by the closed one. We took off and headed out to the South West. I can’t deny it’s an amazing feeling and the views are spectacular. Stewart said he’d flown helicopters all over the World but nothing comes close to Mallorca’s scenery. We flew over where I lived and then up the west coast. Anyone that knows Mallorca will say that the west coast is the most beautiful part of the island. But seeing it from the sea makes it all the more amazing. We landed for lunch, that’s not a phrase you say every day! Lunch was at the luxurious hotel Son Brull just outside Pollensa and very nice it was too. Then it was back to the helicopter for a run back through the centre of the island over the Cúber and Gorg Blau reservoirs which are currently at 60% capacity the highest they’ve been in years.
Stewart was great and good fun which immediately put me at ease. I thoroughly recommend you giving it a go. They offer Private and Commercial licenses plus pleasure flights or Heli lunches. With Christmas coming up it might make a great present. You can find them on http://www.theaviationcentre.com or call or what’s app Stewart on (0034) 638 603 197.
A risk taker? Maybe not, but It’s been fun. I wonder what’s around the corner?
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org