Our next staff spotlight episode welcomes Hospitality Assistant, David Evans.
David was born and grew up in Sale, Manchester where he enjoyed his Judo club and Sunday morning football. Throughout these early years, David visited both Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC every other Saturday morning with his form master and fellow students. It is no surprise to learn that David did not want to give this up when his parents moved to Mortonhamstead, Devon after purchasing a pub, but he had no choice.
Moving down to Devon, David joined Newton Abbot Grammar school as a teenager and then went on to study Hotel and Catering at College. He told us, ‘That was a most enjoyable time. I passed all of my exams because I really liked what I was doing and studying’. Subsequently, David began working life at a hotel called the Harte and Garta, where he completed a lot of his hospitality training. Following that, David joined Swan & Bottle, a pub in Uxbridge, as assistant manager at just 18 years old.
David then found himself returning home to help his parents in running the family pub. ‘I helped out in the kitchen for five years before returning to front of house. For those years I wore a tall chef’s hat, whites and trousers and so forth. I was a proper old poser’. After 26 years and due to rising rent costs, David sold the pub and bought another, just up the road in Lipton. He ran this for 3 years before selling and buying an Italian restaurant in Exmouth.
David’s partner, Jenny, was the inspiration behind transforming the Italian into a Caribbean restaurant, herself being from Saint Lucia. Together they ran the restaurant for a short period before coming to the realisation that in the winter months Exmouth ‘goes to sleep’ and business halted. As a result, they packed up and moved to London where David worked for a number of years before joining Roffey Park in 2014.
Throughout his life, David has always been an avid traveller and is especially fond of America, visiting every state. He told us ‘I once drove from New York all the way to San Francisco in an estate car with only two sleeping bags. On our journey, we stopped in Chicago, Salt Lake City (Utah), Nevada and Florida’. Other destinations that David has visited include Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, Skiing in Switzerland and frequently Saint Lucia with his partner Jenny.
It is not a surprise to learn that hospitality is not a job for David. He told us, ‘I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career. I don’t find it a chore at all, the social side of mixing with everybody, I’ve done it all my life. Some people might call me overzealous but I’m a social personality and I enjoy others’ company… I can’t help it!’.
From working in gentlemen’s clubs in Carnaby Street to flying to Paris and Brussels for lunch with his local ‘pub club’, it is safe to say David has led a life full of fun. One of his fondest memories was when he was invited to be an extra on Coronation Street when he was in his twenties. He explained, ‘I was in an episode where my partner and I had come to Coronation Street to buy a house for sale. Afterwards, the cast and I included watched the screening with a coffee and later in the evening went to a local wine bar. We had such a great time’. David even made the front page of his local newspaper after sharing the story with his friend, a journalist.
David is a big TV and film fan if that wasn’t already clear. As well as still watching Coronation Street to this day, he is a self-proclaimed James Bond superfan. ‘I’ve watched them all. I really couldn’t tell you my favourite… If you pushed me, I’d have to say any of the movies with Sean Connery and Roger Moore. The theme tune is my ringtone!’. David is also a huge fan of The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones as well as Classical Music. He told us that he has visited the Halle Orchestra in Manchester a number of times.
David’s warm and vibrant presence is certainly contagious as those who come across him do not leave without a smile on their faces. David is always so popular with on-site visitors with most leaving reviews to specifically name-drop him. He told us that retirement has entered his mind but I am sure that all of us at Roffey Park would plead with him to hang around just a couple more years. Roffey Park would not be the same without David, AKA the ‘barman’.Tags: Staff, Team
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