You might be aware of celebrity golf days – whereby businessmen pay top dollar for the honour of playing golf with usually a professional golfer and a celebrity.
I don’t fit well in to either of these categories. I am not a celebrity. And I am certainly not a scratch golfer.
And so, these are days that I usually dread.
The ‘celebrities’ are whoever the charity can cobble together. Ex-sports stars usually; football or rugby players and perhaps the odd actor here and there. The businessmen have their fingers crossed that they might be paired with a celebrity from tier 1. In other words, someone they have heard of.
Always an awkward moment then, meeting my team on the first tee. Their disappointment is palpable and who can blame them when an ex-England goalkeeper drives by in a buggy. Quickly, I like to make light of things…
“Okay guys. I get it. I know you’re disappointed. But it’s your own fault. Today is a fundraiser and so the charity have paired businessmen with celebrities commensurate with your status and wealth. So you guys are obviously skint. Let’s play golf.”
This usually gets a laugh. If it doesn’t, then I am in for a very long day.
And with this in mind, I rocked up this week to a celebrity golf day, surprised that the day had even survived the lockdown.
On the tee, I meet my team. I introduce myself politely and feel a need to explain why I am famous.
These days, because my son is Tom Holland.
This gets a laugh and is a good start but I am yet to tee off. My fellow players introduce themselves. Two men and a lady. No pro (lockdown, I presume). We bump elbows (lockdown) and as per... instantly I forget all their names – and I will apologise for confusing them over the next four (long) hours.
But this time, one name does stick or the name of their firm does – a company well known in the UK - Big Yellow Storage. The lady golfer works for them also.
Spaces full of stuff not good enough for the home but too good for the dump. How impossibly dull and you might imagine that my round ahead just got longer.
Not a bit of it. We had a great day out and I enjoyed it immensely.
In large part because Big Yellow rank high in my corporate affections – and I write this blog in part, to commend them.
Any readers familiar with The Brothers Trust will know that we support The Lunch Bowl Network – a charity working in Kibera, Kenya, feeding and educating the world’s most deprived children. As well as raising money, Lunch Bowl collects and sends out clothing, footwear and all-sorts to Kibera which all needs to be stored ahead of shipping.
There is much to commend Lunch Bowl. It is run by volunteers which means that 97p in every £ raised can be spent directly on those in need and this muscular ratio is possible also because Lunch Bowl's storage costs are provided by Big Yellow for FREE.
I have been to Kibera and seen the impact of this charity. I have seen the kids resplendent in their rugby kits and boots and how delighted they are to kick a ball around and I was delighted to share this experience during our round of golf.
There is some cynicism towards corporations at present – that capitalism is rotten and needs to be reset – and so it was heartening to meet Anthony Chenery and his colleague, Tracey Beagley – and to learn that Big Yellow actively support 160 UK charities and have a Foundation where they match any donations from their customers. Included in the charities they help is Bounce Back – an organisation that looks to empower vulnerable people by supporting them in to the work place. People like ex-offenders, mentally and physically handicapped people… similar to The Empowerment Plan who I mentioned last week.
But our love-in was put aside for our golf match and I need to thank Anthony and Tracey again because they brought out the very best golfer in me - from poor to average.
I have not played as well for ages and why I am even more persuaded to write this post.
So if you’re in need of some storage – Big Yellow is a good option. I don’t know how competitive they are. All my possessions still fit in to my house and so I am not up to speed on storage rates. But I do know that they’re nice people and this counts for something.