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.
Having taken a “year out” from “competitive sailing” and doing any coaching due to an injury sustained whilst doing an extreme sport (fell over whilst skiing. It was flat. There was no-one near me) I am now back in my Laser and my results are, inconsistent, which is better than all bad. I am now also spending quite a lot of time coaching at my sailing club during the week – you can follow my progress on our Hub section.
One child has gone to University in Seattle but is still sailing and is going to the 29er World Championships in California, having come 25th last year. Another child is just doing her GCSEs this year and is also sailing a 29er and she has the Europeans in France to look forward to and third child is playing rugby - what some may consider a proper sport!
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 is responsible for helping with the strategic direction for both the Southampton and London Boat Shows.
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
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
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
Keiron works alongside Jack in the school's department and spends most of his time speaking to teachers and driving round the country attending parents evenings and launches. He has a passion for what we do and is one of the few amongst us that have had, what is known in the business as, a “proper job" that is outside Rockley and the marine industry and brings a wealth of sales and management experience to what he does.
Races a J24 yacht, loves walking his dog Poppy and is also a very keen Shrimper sailor.
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instructor; RYA Powerboat Instructor
At Rockley Since: 2009
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
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
Liz has only been with us for about 9 years but is fast catching up Andy in the legend department. Does everything with a smile and never stops working. She manages the centre alongside Andy, oversees all the candidates that are going for Instructional courses and helps them with any Action Plans. Liz is also the Principal of Rockley Academy, which is the professional training arm of Rockley.
Loves cycling and running and successfully completed the London marathon last year along with her husband and fellow worker John McMaster. Mother of two and working full time, we have no idea how she keeps going...
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Windsurf Instructor, RYA Windsurfer Trainer
At Rockley Since: 2008
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
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
Alex trained with Rockley on the Dingy Instructor and Windsurf Instructor Intensive Training Course back in 2012. He then worked a season for Rockley at AzuRivage in 2013 followed by a season at Rockley Point in the summer of 2016. He then returned the following summer as a Centre Senior at AzuRivage.
He admits to having had the best three years of his life at Plymouth Marjon University where he received a First Class Honours Degree in Sport Development (Physical Education) and has recently completed his Teacher Training PGCE in Secondary Physical Education at the University of Southampton.
In his spare time he enjoys getting out on the water as much as possible and spends a lot of time surfing in Devon and Cornwall. His firts love is, however, hockey and plays at Bournemouth Hockey Club where he has played since the age of six. The highlight of his hockey career was playing for the Marjon Uni first team in its varsity game against Plymouth Uni.
He also happens to be a HUGE AFC Bournemouth fan!
As to why he accepted the role to work for Rockley's Education Department - "This role is extremely exciting for me as it is a mix of my two passions - teaching PE and watersports. The opportunity to work in such a unique learning environment is incredible.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Dinghy Instructor; RYA Windsurf Instructor; BSUPA Instructor
At Rockley Since: August 2019
Lee studied an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and School Sport followed by a PGCE to gain Qualified Teacher Status at Sheffield Hallam University. After graduating he worked for the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club teaching sailing and touring the UAE race coaching. After that, he worked in Bermuda for an Education Charity, working with primary schools across the island delivering an expeditionary learning programme in addition to managing a start-up sailing school. Since moving back to the UK in January 2019 he worked at RS Sailing in the Marketing and Events team where he travelled across the UK and Europe to deliver events and create media content for the RS Sailing brand.
A keen sportsman, his favourite sports are football, watersports and running and is even hoping to get a place to run the 2020 London Marathon!
As to why he relished the opportunity to work for Rockley's Education Department - "being a Teacher on Rockley’s BTEC programme is a unique environment, combining professional watersports training with a door-opening academic qualification. Working with driven young people who want to have a positive impact on children’s lives is inspiring."
Qualifications: PE Teacher, RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor (keelboat endorsed), RYA Start Windsurfing Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, BSUPA Instructor, RYA Day Skipper
At Rockley Since: August 2019
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
Sean has been working for Rockley in France since 2012 and has been a fantastic addition to the team. Sean is amazingly handy building and fixing things, he was instrumental in the setting up of our newest centre Le Lac Mimizan. He has even mastered the left handed screw driver. Based permanently in France, Sean has developed a love for vin rouge and beaucoup de fromage! Sean and his lovely wife Laura who also used to work for Rockley have recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy. Congratulations to them both!
Qualifications: RYA Powerboat Level 2
At Rockley Since: 2012
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!