Thursday, October 21, 2004

The beautiful game -- and its players

Managed to arrive at St Mary's Stadium in reasonable time for The Princes Trust award evening for the South East.
I think I had been invited because I had shown an interest in the Trust following a presentation on some of the Prince's charities at Clarence House. It was good to be on Terry Ryall's table as I had met her when she used to be involved with the Guide Association (Irish, very lively and passionate about the potential of young people) and it was also good to see the involvement of Rupert Lowe - the Chairman of Saints.

Felt rather daft though when a young man plonked himself down next to me after shaking hands with everyone at the table and I asked who he was (in my defence he was not wearing a name badge) and whether the rather smart Saints shirt should give me a clue. He very modestly pointed out his name in the programme and I realised that I was sitting next to local legend James Beattie. Clang!

He turned out to be a very engaging young man who was brilliant with all the young fans and very nice about people and the only dangerous moment was when another dinner guest asked, "So is your life really like footballers wives?"
The reponse "I take it that isn't a serious question" was politely said but I suspect that this is a rather tedious question (for him) that is in danger of being asked once too often. Moved the conversation onto safer ground and it turns out that he is a constituent!

It is very nice meeting household names (I hope James is fully recovered and playing for England again soon) but the real stars of the evening were the young people who had been nominated for awards by the Trust. Some had overcome real adversity and others had displayed amazing business acumen. It was one of those evenings when I left an event feeling all was right with the world.