Yep, that’s me. Apart from a brief stint of 5 months 10 days as an accountant (no, I didn’t fail, I just saw the light out of the window one day) I have been at Rockley since I was 13.
I now have the enviable task of working with some of the most amazing people. We all enjoy working in a small business, working together for a common purpose.
I have three incredible children who have grown up too fast, love sailing, skiing, wakeboarding and drinking G&T! am now also spending quite a lot of time coaching at my sailing club during the week. I'm almost too busy to work!
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor, RYA Powerboat Instructor
At Rockley Since: A lifetime
Started at Rockley as a sailing instructor in the mid 80’s and the rest, as they say, is history….
Lis has the enviable task of working alongside me, explaining for the millionth time where apostrophes go, as she is the one with the eye for detail.
Races a Laser and is very quiet around the course and is quite happy (?!) at the back of the fleet.
Qualifications: Was a RYA Instructor back in the day and now can tell her pdfs from her jpegs
At Rockley Since: Just short of a lifetime
Pip has been at Rockley since 2003, she started out as the first ever RYA Onboard Development officer when Rockley were chosen as the Pilot centre for the scheme. She progressed on to Sales & Marketing Director and loves selling stuff, often described as selling "Ice to eskimos". Pip took over as Managing Director in 2014 and has continued to take the business from strength to strength. Pip also became a member of the British Marine Boat Show Board in 2016, where she was responsible for helping with the strategic direction for both the Southampton and London Boat Shows. She joined the RYA Participation and Membership Committee in July 2020 and now Chairs that committee.
Pip is passionate about everything outdoorsy and loves getting out running, cycling or swimming and now regularly participates in triathlons. Competitive to say the least, Pip also plays hockey to an exceptional high standard. In 2018 she earned her place in the England over 45's hockey team and in August 2018 they came home from the World Cup in Barcelona with a silver medal.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Powerboat Instructor;
At Rockley Since: 2003
Jack spends quite a lot of his time visiting schools around the country (and abroad!) and doing presentations to teachers, school children and parents. With nearly 5000 school children visiting Rockley each season Jack is responsible for the biggest part of what Rockley does – school residential activity trips. Being only 30, Jack is also invaluable to us as he can sort any mobile phone or social networking issues for us (read me)!
The life and soul of all parties, he is never happier than when dancing - which is handy as like much of the Rockley Team he has developed a penchant for Lycra. Seems like Jack is also on a fitness mission and has joined the cycling crowd - maybe he's trying to get fit for baby number 4!
Has three gorgeous daugters, loves football (not as much as his girls!) and is a huge fan of Saints.
Also likes to dress in outdated ski attire!
Qualifications: Degree in Outdoory Stuff
At Rockley Since: 2010
Aka “Mini”, although he has been with us for so long that we can’t remember now how he got that nickname. In charge of running the overseas operational part of the business, Mini is an expert at putting together three watersports centres every year and then taking them down again 6 months later. His life must be a bit like Groundhog Day. A trusted member of the team, Mini now splits his time between France and the UK.
Never panics, always has everything under control and has a gorgeous bull dog called Bella who is now a fixture in the office.
Qualifications: RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor; RYA Senior Windsurf Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, SUP Instructor Level 1, Mountain Bike Leader Level 4
At Rockley Since: 1999
Kat started with us by doing a 6 week Dinghy Instructor course way back when, and many years later, not only has she been a Centre Manager in France and Poole Park for us, she now looks after the recruitment side of the business full time. No mean feat when you consider we get thousands of applications. Funnily enough, quite a lot of personnel admin is now done on facebook (?), at least that is what she tells us.
You'll often see her behind a camera snapping away at anything and anyone - if you see a brochure they'll be full of Kat's images!. She's always a ray of light in the office, although we do allow her out from time to time to spend time in France looking after the team out there.
Qualifications: Rockley IDC graduate, RYA Senior Instructor
At Rockley Since: 2009
Cassy is a whizz at graphic design and has helped Rockley transform its marketing “collateral” from the home spun to the professional. She has 2 very gorgeous children, is half Greek / half Irish (though surprisingly not feisty!), loves camping, enjoys a shandy or rose in the summer (preferably whilst camping) and can be often seen running along the beach.
A very keen runner, her best time for a marathon is a few minutes over 3 hours and last year ran the Bournemouth half Marathon with the Rockley Team in aid of Julia's House in 1 hour 32 mins.
Qualifications: Degree in Marketing
At Rockley Since: 1999
Valerie works tirelessly to ensure that all our accounts are in order and is never found, even on the dullest day, without a smile on her face. She manages the accounts for all areas of the business from the French and UK accounts to the Hourbour's Edge cafe which is no mean feat - she's even had to increase her hours! Valerie is the life and soul of any Rockley party and therefore was ideally placed and willing to be appointed Company Social Secretary.
She enjoys skiing and netball, can often be seen on the golf course and enjoys the odd sundowner on a Friday...
Qualifications: Numbers big or small.
At Rockley Since: 2005
Lucy is no stranger to Rockley, as her husband Jack has been with the company for years! Rockley is very much part of her family with their four young girls growing up around the water and all the activities the company has to offer!
Lucy now works alongside Val, making them an unstoppable duo. Aside from being hugely busy with her girls, Lucy still finds time to be a demon on the netball court. And if she claims not to be competitive....well that's just a lie!
At Rockley since: January 2022
Clare joins the team as Head of Education. Having previously worked as Head of Curriculum at a local sixth form college and also having worked for Pearson, our exam board, Clare brings a wealth of knowledge to team and an overarching approach to quality. In other words, she’s gets us organised!
Clare’s background is not only in teaching, but having travelled the world as an Instructor and Ski Rep, she really knows and understands what the outdoors industry can bring to someone’s lives. Clare lives and breathes what she preaches and describes herself as surfer, snowboarder, day dreamer, traveller, coffee lover, creative thinker and definitely one of life's positive thinkers!
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instructor, RYA Windsurf Instructor, PE Teacher, Hockey Coach!
At Rockley since: August 2018
Sara is probably the most travelled of the Rockley Team and somewhat of an adrenaline junkie! As a Tour Leader she's travelled to South East Asia, East Africa and all round Europe - her travel highlights to date include trekking for 10 hours through rainforests to have an hour with mountain gorillas in Uganda and meeting the people, dancing and having coffee in Ethiopia
She has cycled the most dangerous road (death road) in the world in Bolivia, sky dived over Lake wannaka (NZ) and Bungy jumped from of third highest drop in the world (NZ) and has lived to tell the tale...She loves being in the blue - is a keen rower (currently race secretary for Westover and Bournemouth row club) and has a passion for diving (has her Dive Master). She's dived in some amazing locations including Thailand, Borneo and Sipadan and has survived a close encounter with a huge whale shark!
Before Rockley, Sara was a TA, Primary school teacher and supply teacher so is well placed working as part of the Schools Team.
She loves ice-cream and Thai spicy food, and takes a great photo!
Qualifications: Degree in Leisure Management, PGCE in Primary, Dive Master, Power boat level 2, competent crew (yacht’s), Dingy Sailing level!
At Rockley Since: April 2016
A former Rockley College student, she has a real passion for all things watersports and adventure, but her favourite thing do is to go on long walks and hike. Her biggest achievement has been the 10-hour climb up Mount Buffalo in Australia - the most challenging hike she has done to date!
We delved a little further with a series of quick fire questions to find out more about our latest recruit....
Her perfect day - café for breakfast and coffee, followed by giving a koala a cuddle and then going for a dive in the Great Barrier Reef!
Her favourite film - The Bat Man Dark Knight - you can't beat Heath Ledger as the Joker
The song which would get her up on the dance floor - Arctic Monkeys, I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
Three people she would invite round for dinner - David Bowie, Professor Brian Cox, David Attenborough. David Bowies for his rock 'n' roll lifestyle - he’s my favourite artist! Brian Cox, I have so many questions about the universe. As for Attenborough, I could listen to his voice all day.
Three things she would take on a desert island - a fishing net, tent and a boat!
Mountains or water - 100% water any day
At Rockley Since: Summer 2021
Ross discovered his love of sailing as a teenager and has since competed in many dinghy and yachting events all over the UK. He also has a keen interest in cars and will regularly have a different classic car to work on and showcase. On a weekend you will find him either on a boat or somewhere around cars! However, if you pushed him on his greater love is - boats or cars...it would be cars all the way!
At Rockley Since: Summer 2021
Before Rockley she was travelling around Australia and Southeast Asia. Having worked for a watersports company in Bondi, and being forced to cut her travels short due to Covid, she discovered working by the beach at Rockley Point the next best thing! here's a little insight into Katie -
The 3 people she would invite round for dinner - David Attenborough - the most incredible man on the planet! (Don’t tell my partner I said that!). I just adore his passion and care for planet earth. Kate Middleton- I’d love to have a Sunday roast and wine with her. I just feel like we’d get on well. Ocean Ramsey- I’m so fascinated by her. I feel like she’d have the most incredible stories to tell.
Her perfect day if time, money or travel was not an issue - Early morning sunrise in Hawaii with a smoothie bowl for breakfast. Then surfing and scuba diving during the day followed by a sunset sail in the evening...and then endless pina coladas…!
Her biggest indulgence in the past 6 months - A new wetsuit and paddleboard!
The best book she's read - What you should know about sharks, by Ocean Ramsey. Her dream is to one day swim with sharks and free dive, without the cage!
The super power she would want to possess if she could - To breath under water
3 things she would take to a desert island - Food, water, sun cream
At Rockley Since: April 2022
This man has often been described as “A Legend” or an “Entertainer”, normally by himself. Affectionately known as Straw but insists on being called Lord Admiral Straw, he has only just turned 50 but has been with Rockley for 35 years. It is also true that he is a legend, although I am not so sure about the entertainer bit.
Plays, a key role - he oversees everything that goes on at Rockley Point, which is at the heart of everything that Rockley does.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector
At Rockley Since: 1979
We welcome Fiona to the Rockley Team. Whilst studying for degree in Outdoor Adventure Management at Southampton Solent Uni, Fiona also worked at Rockley as an RYA Instructor. She loved the place and the team so much that she decided, after gaining further management experience abroad, to come back and she's super excited!
Fiona first learnt to sail a Topper with her Grandparents when she was nine, and has loved being on the water ever since. She soon caught the season bug and has worked both summers and winters in some amazing places including Greece, Turkey, Sardinia, Italy, France and Australia - she knew it was an industry she wanted to stay in! Whilst at university she also learnt to windsurf, and was immediately hooked! After finishing Uni she went to work for Neilson Holidays, where she gained management experience, initially as a beach supervisor, before becoming beach manager and then activity manager.
What would your perfect day be if time/travel/money was not an issue? Pastries & coffee for breakfast, snowboarding with fresh powder and blue skies in the morning, fresh pasta in Italy for Lunch, windsurfing somewhere warm and windy in the afternoon and curry for dinner.
What would your superpower be? Teleporting, then I’d actually be able to do that day!
What 3 things would you take to a desert island? A hammock, sun cream (I love the sun but I get so burnt!) and some windsurf kit, I’m assuming it would be windy!
Which 3 people from any time in history you would invite round for dinner? David Attenborough, he’s been everywhere, and I’m sure have some amazing stories! (Can I just do 1, I’m struggling to think of others!!)
Biggest indulgence? Snacks!
Favourite movie or book you have seen/read? Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
What song would get you up on the dance floor? Almost anything! I love a good dance!
My first season at Rockley was 2017.
I finished school and joined the Rockley College BTEC course. I've also worked at AFC Bournemouth!
I most enjoy seeing my team grow as instructors and also having children come back regularly, getting into watersports, and really growing in confidence week on week, year on year.
I have learnt how to progress from being an instructor to running a centre and leading a team of instructors. It's great to now be in a position where I can encourage new and young instructors to upskill and really be the best they can be.
My favourite memory was teaching my first windsurf course, watching the candidates progress and helping them pass the course.
At Rockley Since: 2017
The other half of the McMaster duo, John spends most of his time delivering the practical side of our BTEC L3 course, which includes cycling around Poole Harbour on glorious sunny days! Tough job isn’t it?
He also ran the London Marathon last year along with his wife Liz, together raising hundreds of pounds for Julia's House.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Windsurf Instructor; RYA Yachtmaster
At Rockley Since: 2010
Prior to Rockley, Sophie taught Geography at a secondary school in Somerset, as well as Outdoor Education in various schools including Bryanston. Outdoor education and sports are her absolute passion! Having dabbled in a host of different activities like sailing, surfing and sea kayaking she is currently really enjoying paddleboarding and mountain biking in her free time. Sophie grew up on the beach so loves being in the water, but she also loves to climb mountains in North Wales or Scotland whenever she can escape! She describes her new role at Rockley as her 'dream job' as it combines teaching with her hobbies and interests! So far she is absolutely loving it!
At Rockley Since: 2021
Mark has over 15 years experience of teaching from middle school, secondary, college and degree level. As a fully fledged sports enthusiast he has an interest in almost all sports and in his younger days would always be seen on the football pitch playing football or on the cricket pitch. Unfortunately age has taken his toll and these days you are more likely to see him on the golf pitch.
Any spare time away from work and family is now spent playing golf which started as a leisure activity, turned into a previous job and now is a borderline addiction! A particular highlight of this year so far is going to Paris to watch Europe win the Ryder Cup.
Qualifications: Various levels of NGB coaching in Cricket, Golf, Football, Dodgeball, Athletics, Disability Football
At Rockley Since: September 2018
After working in North Wales for a year it was time for Matt to move onto another challenge which lead him to an Activity Instructor role at Rockley Point in march 2017! The rest as they say, is history! He is now the Education Practical Lead
As well as being active on the water, Matt has always loved being in the water! He has spent many years scuba diving which has taken him to so many amazing places including: Egypt, north west Scotland, west coast of Ireland and Wales. However is absolute passion is windsurfing. You will ofetn find him blasting out on the water during his lunch break, after work and on the weekends with fellow colleagues and windsurf enthusiasts.
At Rockley since: March 2017
Megan first came to Rockley in 2017 as a student on the 2 year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity (Outdoors) course. After graduating she worked a season at one of Rockley's French activity centres, before joining the Apprenticeship programme in 2019. She is now an Education Practical Tutor, teaching the current college students.
As a youngster, Megan used to tap dance and can play the flute!
She loves "doing anything where I’m doing something......and camping"
At Rockley since: September 2017
After a year working at plas Menai, Pete joined the Rockley crew in March 2017 and has been here ever since! He's worked at many of Rockley's centres teaching a variety of courses and is now a Practical Tutor for Rockley College.
His absolute passion is windsurfing, especially freestyle and he will be out on the water at every opportunity - lunch breaks, after work.......whatever the weather! And when he's not on the water, he loves to make windsurfing and other watersports related videos.
At Rockley since: March 2017
Will started work at Rockley as an Instructor and has worked his way through to Centre Manager in France. Cool, calm and collected, he does a great job in France in the summer. During the winter, as well as developing an outstanding French accent (although the language is still a bit below par) he also takes on all the administration work.
A keen cyclist (when it’s not wet and cold) and a lover of everything outdoors, he also manages to maintain a regular habit of drinking espresso until lunch time when naturally coffee turns to wine!
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instrcutor
At Rockley Since: 2011
The story so far....
"I have been involved in the outdoors industry for the last 15 years, working for a variety of organisations, local authorities, charities and commercial operations. Outdoor Education trips and the Scouts gave me a great opportunity when I was younger to experience new activities and travel the world. I’m extremely passionate about giving similar experiences to other young people and helping them to hopefully find new life-long skills or passions.
"I'm a keen sportsman, and while I love most sports, my favourite is Rugby - playing, coaching and watching at every opportunity!
"Having moved to Dorset four years ago, I am now taking full advantage of the rural setting, with time spent walking my dog and shooting, when I get the chance.
“Working with Rockley is an exciting new chapter for me. Joining a dynamic team and having the opportunity to get young people outdoors once again is fantastic especially after such a strange year.”
Qualifications: RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, BC Paddlesports Instructor, MLTE Single Pitch Award, ERCA Instructor and Generic Rescuer.
At Rockley Since: March 2021
So, how did Jo find herself at Rockley? As her GCSE's were fast approaching, Jo still had no clue what she wanted to do. One thing she was certain of though, was that she was NOT going to sixth form! In 2017, Jo attended a career and approached the Rockley stand for more information and soon decided to join the Level 3 college course. Fast forward two years, she graduated, completed a season in France, joined the apprentice programme and is now working as a Customer Service Manager at Buddens Activity Centre.
No stranger to the water, Jo used to swim competitively for 10 years which is where her passion for the water and the outdoors comes from! She has also discovered a new passion for hiking and exploring, visiting places such as Snowdonia and more recently climbing Crib Goch, which she admits she would never have done a few years ago!
At Rockley since: 2017
Age – 2 Years
Breed – Miniature Schnauzer
Cute – Check
Small – Check
Doesn’t like water – Check
Best dog in the World – Check*
*obviously written by loving owners Peter and Lis, however owners of Henry, George and Poppy may have something to say about that!