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LEEDS LIGHTENING BOLT.

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This post has been a few weeks in the making. I’ve given it much thought and consideration, to ensure that I’m not only giving its subject, Leeds lad; Joe Heraty, the attention he deserves, but that I hit the right note with my rapidly increasing readership. I’m not so sure I’m enamoured with this choice of titular cheesiness – but we’ll go with it for now.  Funnily enough, I first heard this turn of phrase, as said (possibly scripted) by Emma Willis on The Voice (BBC1 28th Feb 2015) referring to the rather lush Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chief’s fame and I made a mental note.  Ricky, as most of us will know, is another example of ‘local lad come good’ and a nice one at that.  So, let’s go with it.  I’m not sure where the golfing fraternity are concerned that  ‘I Predict A Riot’ any time soon – but I’d like to think that ‘our Joe’ won’t be just a shot in the dark either.  I’d like to think he’ll be ruffling quite a few feathers in the ‘golfing world’ in the coming months – hopefully of the birdie, eagle, albatross and condor variety!

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I’m a sucker for a good cause… So, when my good friend and neighbour, Joe’s mum, told me about Joe’s financial plight and search for sponsorship for the forthcoming PGA EuroPro Tour 2015, I figured the least I could do  was offer to assist him in his efforts.

Joe is apple of his mother’s eye, – as both her sons are.  Joe & Jack (2)

We’re all somebody’s son/daughter/brother/sister after all and I’d like to think that if one of my children needed a helping hand that someone somewhere would be equally benevolent and step in.  ‘I’m so proud of him,’ Joe’s mum has told me excitedly, on more than one occasion, grinning like a Cheshire cat in the wake of yet another golfing achievement, ‘He’s setting out in the professional world.’  (These words resonated with me … Not least because I’ve heard them somewhere before, in my youth)… That was enough to start the cogs whirring and to get the proverbial ball rolling.  Always up for a challenge, I’m hoping, in this instance, I’m backing a winner in Joe, – because I’m a competitive Yorkshire lass. Nothing satisfies quite so much as ‘winning and achieving.’  However much hard work and dedication is necessary to reach the results – that moment it pays off is priceless.  I guess I’ve got my sportsman father to thank for that (though my Dad was top of his game in hockey, football and cricket in his prime, – but not golf – so I can’t ask him for any sporting advice)! My link to golf is only tenuous.  What I know about golf you could probably write on the back of a postage stamp (although I’m learning… slowly).  Golf and I never really gelled that well.  It very much reminds me of a misspent youth, teenage love, the angst that goes hand in hand with the same, and the beginning of the end for a pair of much coveted white shoes (but that’s a whole other story). (Remind me not to tell you about that sometime). 

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My first proper meeting with Joe was just a few weeks back, prior to him embarking on his EuroPro 2015 journey.  There I was, one busy Friday morning, frayed around the edges (as per the norm), when Joe came knocking.  Thing is, I know lots about Joe, us mum’s have a habit of talking, – but apart from occasionally bumping into him to say ‘Hi’ or to wave in passing whilst he abandons his car outside my house, I didn’t know the guy personally.  So I ushered him into the lounge (apologising for the mess, blaming it on the kids – obv) and he plonked himself down on the leather sofa by the window like a kid at an interview. It seems everything his Mum said is true. I presented him with a really lousy looking cuppa (I take my tea black – so I never get the milk right) and, despite a sly grin, he thanked me and drank it, however bad it must have tasted. Joe comes across as one of the good guys ; good natured, good mannered, good looking (Oh if I was 20 years younger!) and a ‘very’ good golfer to boot, or so I’ve heard on good authority.  I can tell from the outset that golf is his passion, although his self-confidence seems a little lacking.  Whilst Joe’s not exactly bashful – he’s not bragging or forthright in his obvious achievements and talent … specifics that I had to drag out of him.  In fact he told me almost as much about the impressive golfing skills of his younger brother, Jack, the one who, through brotherly rivalry, set him out on his chosen career path, all those years ago.

I’d initially offered Joe my help, on the back of the success of my blog, previously hosted by Yorkshire Life Magazine.  I figured it was in local interest to get Joe’s name out there and start tongues wagging. I have many personal contacts from my previous jobs in TV and radio and a number of high end companies, having dealt with press offices and celebrities throughout my career.  I didn’t hesitate to revisit acquaintances when  Pete was training to swim The Channel, and I managed  to get editorials in many local newspapers and even some air play.  I’m not shy in coming forward, so if I can use my experience to put Joe under the noses of those who can take him further both via publicity and sponsorship then this is merely a starting point.  I’ve got my fingers in a few pies, and a whole host of ideas that might just help Joe get the recognition that he needs.

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Joe started golfing at the age of 15 – just 8 years ago, and in that time has not only grown (startlingly tall) in stature and developed as a young man, but he’s fast becoming an impressive and dedicated golfer too, with a number of amateur achievements already tucked under his (Druh) belt. I imagine it’s daunting for Joe being questioned at length about his career, his objectives and presenting his sponsorship ideas, but he carries himself well and it’s great practise for press calls and interviews.  The luminous orange Nike trainers Joe was wearing were the first thing that struck me.   An ice-breaker for certain, not least because they were seriously bright (for a guy who hides his light under a bushel) – but also because I was a Nike Professional myself (albeit a FitPro of a different nature) back in my heyday.  Whilst Joe isn’t ‘showy’ he can hold his own and so long as his golfing ability continues to draw positive attention, publicity and the media are easily courted.  Anyway, the trainers – well done Joe, a great opener to diffuse any awkwardness.

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There was a snap of keen in the air as soon as his beloved golf was mentioned.  An enthusiasm and gift for the sport merited by those that know him well, only echoed at Moor Allerton Golf Club – where I caught up with him last week to meet his friend and mentor James Whitaker and I was able to take some shots of him in action. IMG_2528 (2)

Joe’s talent has got him thus far, and his youthful outlook makes the job easier!  Another media angle that can be putt to good use. Joe and footy mates (2)

Joe’s already confessed to a serious weakness for Nutella and a penchant for poker, beer and clubbing, which, as for any red-blooded male, feature highly in his leisure time away from the green, as does 5-a-side football.  When he returned from a 3 week training session in Abu Dhabi earlier this month,  he and his mates scooped a trophy at his local club … it seems there’s no ends to his sporting prowess.  When he’s not on the footy pitch, or more commonly on the green or the fairway, he can often be found with ‘the lads’ at The Box in Headingley.  I’m pretty certain that fast cars and women will segue into Joe’s life smoothly in time, if they haven’t already!

 

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Failing to find any flaws in his ‘good guy’ image, Joe admitted to having had a shocking temper in his youth (which I find hard to believe), but then he also assures me his love of golf; bringing about an abundance of fresh air and exercise and the amount of concentration needed; has brought this under control.  So, I’m championing Joe and offering him my help, for what it’s worth, in trying to raise his PR and ultimately find him sponsors.  He’s drawn up a credible sponsorship deal that offer’s a share in himself, (a snip at £800 a pop) initially for the forthcoming EuroPro 2015 Tour (which I’m thrilled to announce he’s about to embark on – having secured himself a place in the qualifying rounds just last week) and afterwards in support of the remainder of his first full ‘professional’ year.

  Joe & James Whitaker (2)

Joe is lucky to have the support of a number of golfing professionals, including James Whitaker Head Professional at Moor Allerton Golf Club where Joe is a member and does the lion’s share of his training, and Simon Hurd, former professional golfer (now based at Cookridge Hall Golf Club and Fitness Centre) and founder of Druh Belts – who are sponsoring Joe in his endeavours.  He also has the backing of family and friends and some sponsors have come forwards from his recent training sessions in Abu Dhabi.

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You might have seen Nick Westby’s sports editorial for the YEP on Wednesday 22nd April http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/other-sport/golf/golf-heraty-is-raising-the-stakes-in-pro-ranks-1-7221414  where Nick further outline’s Joe’s ploy to sell ‘shares in himself’ and does so far more succinctly than I and with the added advantage of golfing ‘know-how.’

Joe tee’s off  in the PGA EuroPro Tour is at Celtic Manor, Wales on 14th May … so time really is of the essence.

I’ve a few local projects up my sleeve to get Joe noticed in the coming months and to raise his profile, including an art come sports initiative involving some children from two local schools, namely St Margaret’s C of E School in Horsforth, and Penny Fields School, Meanwood, with the Horsforth Walk of Art 2015.  Keep your eyes peeled for news of my plans in the coming weeks.

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In the run up to EuroPro 2015 Joe will be practising avidly, honing his physique and indulging less in the sweet treats on offer in the pro shop, maybe even limiting his Nutella intake and getting his energy fix from bananas!

In the meantime, I will be behind the scenes working on projects and potential sponsors and trying to track down Justin Timberlake!  (Joe played with Justin in Abu Dhabi not so long ago).  Although I fear he and the beautiful Jessica might have their hands full right now with the recent birth of their daughter.

Thanks in advance, for taking the time to read my account of Joe and his proposal. If you, or your company, would like to learn more of this Yorkshire golfing professional and offer your support by means of sponsorship and/or product placement, – then please contact me via this blog.  Similarly, please don’t hesitate to forward the details to other prospective backers or golfing enthusiasts, as you deem fitting. 

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An Open Letter to my Tetley Bear

255 (2)My Dearest Tetley

(or to give you your fullest of full titles The Very Honourable Tetley Wetley Woo Woo Bear Windridge-France)

You came into my life at a time when you needed love and attention, support and care and I did too. I gave you my all and you reciprocated tenfold.

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You became my constant companion, my confidente, my friend, my stress-reliever (Oh, those velvet ears – that very nearly wore thread-bare … not to mention that velvet muzzle…I so miss kissing that velvet muzzle), my pal, my saviour, my little black shadow.

You were there during my darkest of hours (of which there were many), you allowed my tears to dampen your fur or you licked them from my face.  You sat by my side for many a long night or we spooned on the sofa.

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Indeed you helped to raise and nurture my children.  You taught them respect and responsibility, you taught them that when you need to go out you need to go out and that they will not dissolve in the rain.  You taught them the joys of dog-walking in all weathers.

I will remain eternally indebted to you for saving my young son’s life.  At a time of weakness and great vulnerability you were there by our side to protect him and to remain loyal.  You refused to give in (proving to be a stalwart member of our family – upholding our family motto ‘Never Give Up, Never Give In).’  It almost cost you dearly.  I will never forget your sacrifice.

Neither will I forget those moments that you were gentle, loving and thoughtful.  Those long arduous months when Archie was learning to sit independently and we knew we had to take the cushions away, but still, on occasion, he would falter.  Rather than you see him come to harm you would run behind him and break his fall – such an intuitive animal.

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Whilst you would tire of patience as Jem and Scarlett pestered you for hours on end with heavy petting and sometimes childish cruelty and you would teach them of their wrongs with a snarl or a testy nip, with Archie you had a different regime.  Your understanding held no bounds, you knew what he, what we, endured, and you were mindful of that, you made allowances.  In turn, you taught my children an ingrained and everlasting love of all things furry.  Indeed you taught them to care and respect, to nurture and to take responsibility.  You taught them to love you.  You were their constant playmate, their guardian, their friend.  Where you taught the imps, you loved and conceded to the heavy, fumbling hands of your soulmate and remained his protector.  I love you so very much for your intuition and the time and care you spared him.  No three children could have adored you more.

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I loved, so very much, the years of pounding the streets, the moors, the glen, the beaches, the woods … urging us to blow the cobwebs away and demanding us to exercise ourselves and you each and every day, indeed on all those days that we least wanted to leave the safety and confines of our warm home.  You were always right and we’re so glad that you were there with us.

VID (2)You were a VID in your own right, appearing at exclusive festivals (AAA), photo shoots (I don’t care what they say – you were THE perfect model).  You were hounded by the paparazzi, featuring in several tabloid newspapers.  You were summoned to ITV studios by telegram, no less, to grace the sofa (although you loved their rug more) of Phil Schofield (the silver fox) and Lorraine Kelly on This Morning … who instantly fell in love with you.  They too were charmed by your dark, soulful eyes and your little velvet head, not to mention your selflessness and bravado ‘For such a small dog!’ Phillip Schofield remarked … I swear your chest rose and your white flash bristled all the more in recognition.  Their resident vet Dr Scott (Miller) could not commend your instinct and courage highly enough – you became a national hero.  You will ALWAYS be a hero in our eyes.

Eighteen long, loving and lecanoscopic years … (you always knew that you could melt me with your eyes, that I would buckle and fall under your spell;  that walk on the iciest of days, that piece of bacon from the edge of my plate, the remaining gravy left in the jug, that piece of cucumber from my Pimms in the summertime).

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I cannot begin to tell you just HOW much I will miss you, miss sharing, and miss caring.

I know you won’t be far, and that Granny Sue will be stroking your velvet muzzle and rubbing your velvet ears as I type.  I know too that you will be understanding of the fact that your love, the love that we all have for you, holds no bounds and will need a new focus to channel our energies on, possibly sooner rather than later.  So, we know that you will understand when we visit the Dogs Trust and find ourselves another charge, a waif, a stray, in need of the love and attention, the care and compassion that we will have to bestow, just as we did on you.

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Thank you for being my constant … my friend … always there, my Bear.

With love

S-Jx

 

 GOODBYE & GOD BLESS to my gorgeous furry friend, 18+ years of loyal service, love, companionship, protection and velvet ears! xx  #gonebutNEVERforgotten #whowillItalktonow