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Ten-minute chat
  1. Roger Wilson


Apart from being the senior partner in a five-vet small animal practice in the New Forest, Roger Wilson is chairman of the Royal Yachting Association Racing Committee, which is responsible for all yacht and dinghy racing in the UK, from running race training for children, to choosing the yachts to represent Team GBR in the Commodores Cup. Part of this involves the development of the facilities at Weymouth for the 2012 Olympics, as well as developing the training schemes and policies for selection for the volunteers that will run the Olympics in 2012.

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How did you get involved?

My daughter raced competitively from an early age and so I had to take her from event to event. She pointed out that she did worse when I was watching her, so I had to find something else to do, and I joined the organising committee.

How did your veterinary degree help?

The communication skills I have developed working with 34 women and literally thousands of clients, along with the training in analysing problems and focusing on the core issues, have helped enormously.

How much time does it take up?

An hour or two most days, replying to e-mails, dealing with telephone queries and ringing people up to get them to do something. Plus 30 days a year. Luckily my wife enjoys being involved too, so it has turned into our family hobby.

What do you like about being involved?

I love being part of a team delivering something that is really important to people. I suppose that is also why I love being a vet.

What do you not like?

Meetings in London.

Why is it important?

National governing bodies of sports are composed of volunteers working with teams of paid professionals to develop their sport. I feel it is really important to get involved as a volunteer and help make sure the sport develops in a way that supports the grassroots, and encourages more people to take it up and enjoy it. Sport is important in allowing people a chance to make new friends, develop new skills, build their confidence and develop their personalities.

Roger Wilson and his wife, Jenny, celebrating daughter Pippa's gold medal after the Beijing Olympics in 2008

What advice would you give to someone considering a similar path?

Only do it if you enjoy it. Make sure your family supports what you do. Start locally.

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Graveyards are full of indispensable people.

What was your proudest moment?

Watching my daughter receive a gold medal at the Olympics.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Giving a trophy to the wrong person!

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