I have been building and maintaining sport websites for over 20 years now and bowling was added to that list in 2014 with the Huddersfield Veterans League and that has since moved on to the HuddWeb site. So for the last 7 years I have had my own set of standards and rules about how a bowling website should be run. Two rules have been paramount in that time and both have been set by me and strictly adhered to over that period but one was broken yesterday and the second is being broken today.
Rule 1 - all content must be bowls-related.
I have been asked to include jokes, cartoons, public appeals, personal messages and others, all have been turned away as I believe that there are other websites better positioned to provide such services. I only aspire to be the best local bowling website and trying to be anything else would be disrespectful to other more focused sites and detract from what HuddWeb is all about. I broke that rule this week with the humourous Prayer for the England football team on the day of the Euro2020 Final. It was an exception and probably wont be repeated for another 55 years. I'm a big football fan and this was a very special occasion so it got added plus I was away on holiday and didn't have the time to search out sufficient 3-a-day stories to add to the site.
Rule 2 - no advertising.
I have been offered a number of financial incentives to include advertising on the website on a number of occasions, some very generous. However when you see how some good websites have sold their souls and seen the presentation of their sites be taken over by wild and amateur adverts then it makes a mockery of all the work put in to make a serious site. For example look at the online site for the Huddersfield Examiner or is it Examiner Live? What a mess it is, I avoid it now as I find it hard work to read it with constant pop-up advert interruptions sidelining the news topics.
Now I am going to break my Rule 2 with my own advert, this is a one-off (probably) but it is not included for financial gain.
For the last 5 years I have been on the speaker circuit providing talks to many clubs, groups, associations mainly across Yorkshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire. Most of these are small groups that meet weekly or monthly and a speaker adds to those occasions. These include Probus Clubs, U3A organisations, W.I.'s, Oddfellow Clubs, Retired groups and Luncheon Clubs amongst others. I charge £50 for an hour-long talk and a donation towards petrol money if more than a 40-mile round trip.
I've also led a number of discussion groups for commercial organisations and the fee goes up considerably for these as these are tailored events requiring a lot of preparation.
All the speaker fees obtained are donated to the Kirkwood Hospice Weekly Draw in the hope that one day I may win the £750 top prize and then donate that back to the Hospice. I have given over 300 talks over the last 5 years but none at all since March 2020 for obvious reasons. I am now starting to take bookings for future talks and build up my contacts once again after the pandemic enforced break and I already have bookings into 2023.
I have met a number of bowlers at such events and it is always good to catch up with them away from the green for a change. I have three main talks that I can offer groups.
'Life in the NHS - it only hurts when I laugh' After working in the NHS for 30 years I have an insight as to how staff view themselves and the services they provide. The talk covers the history of how the NHS was started, the hurdles that had to be overcome, the emotion that surrounds the service and there is a lot of humour in the talk of a subject that is dear to all of us. I have given this talk over 200 times and it is still my most popular talk and I enjoy presenting it immensely.
'Retirement for Beginners' A complete humorous presentation of funny video clips and stories related to retirement. Not to be taken seriously.
'I used to be a football referee - but I'm better now' Mainly aimed at all-male groups although successfully given to mixed audiences this is the story of a local parks football referee (me) and my introduction to refereeing and some of the high and low points of Sunday morning football including the story of refereeing a football match inside Broadmoor Special Hospital for the Criminally Insane when a patients' team played a local league match. Again a lot of humour including questions on the Laws of the Game which will surprise the audience.
If you think that any of these topics could be of interest to a group that you belong, then please get in touch and help me catch up with my donation target for the hospice.
Thank you for bearing with me whilst I broke my own rules which are unlikely to be broken again in the near future.
Contact: Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07968 171 197 Thank you.