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From assailants with baseball bats, to superstars with cricket bats!

A holiday adventure takes our writer on tour with the England women’s cricket team…

If you read my article last week, you will possibly remember my baptism of fire at ASEL.

Having moved from my role at TUI to become the new Group MD of Argenbright Security Europe Ltd, I was immediately in at the deep end – making my first major speech to the business in the Churchill War Rooms, with the weight of history weighing heavily upon me.
Almost as soon as I had finished my address, it was time to set off on a family holiday. Not perfect timing in some respects, but absolutely perfect in others…

The holiday had been in the diary for some time. I was looking forward to it hugely, as were my wife and my daughter Martha. A time to recharge the batteries in the company of those who matter the most.

The grandparents had been prized off their cruise liner – the one they seem to continually inhabit – in order to dog-sit our recalcitrant spaniel, Izzi. Would the dog, or even my parents for that matter, notice we had gone? I doubted it. Izzi would be spoilt rotten and the folk too busy planning their next cruise line adventures! But we were looking for a different style of holiday than one confined to a floating gin palace…

Martha loves cricket. She is mad for the sport. And, though I say so myself as a proud dad, she is pretty good too. So, my wife and I decided that we would go to New Zealand this year, to follow the England women’s cricket team on their tour of New Zealand. From apprehending assailants with baseball bats to applauding sporting superstars with cricket bats… it’s a funny old world sometimes!

I also got to indulge my predilection for immersive family holidays by hiring a campervan in New Zealand in which we would travel and sleep, whilst on our own tour of New Zealand. I figured this was the best way to engage with what had been promised to be a beautiful environment. Plus, it gave us freedom to stop off and do our own thing in between matches… perhaps visit a great restaurant or a world class wine producer… or alternatively we could visit another world class restaurant or wine producer. Haha! It gave us options!

Off we set on our 25 hour flight. Martha was great. It was me who kept asking “Are we there yet!”

Finally, we land. And, once clear of the airport, something became very clear…

New Zealand is unbelievable!

Around every corner there is a new “WOW”! The scale of natural beauty is, frankly, off the chart.
We have been here about a week now. Previously we went to watch New Zealand v England cricket in Wellington. As I write now, we are at the second game, in Hamilton. And it is a tight game…

Whilst waiting for the Wellington game to start, Martha got asked if she wanted to walk out with the players and ended up with the England Captain, Heather Knight! That led to Martha being plastered all over X and Instagram by England Cricket!

Martha has a friend whose dad works in TV. He was covering the same game from the commentary box. He invited us in, to see how it all works. After being shown around, Martha found herself commentating on live international TV. Mind boggling!

Today, in Hamilton, Martha had an impromptu cricket coaching session with Lydia Greenaway, Katey Martin and Kat Sciver-Brunt. One day she will realise the magnitude of these experiences. Global sports stars willing to give their time to simply play cricket with a kid. I was blown away by their engagement and generosity. It was amazing to watch how they all gathered around a young girl, simply wanting her to learn from their life’s mastery.

These ladies are all now retired. They were just watching their friends play or commentating on the game. I guess I’ve never seen professional sports people do that away from a structured environment – they were playing cricket with my daughter on a patch of concrete at the side of the pitch!

It’s made me think about how important role models are in all walks of life, not just sport but in business too.
In the UK I coach junior club and county cricket. I give hours of my time to it, for free. I’m no sporting role model. I just do my best to give people enjoyment.

But when it comes to Security, I know my onions. And as part of developing ASEL I am going to be spending quality time with our people and making them believe in their own futures and encouraging them to be faster, smarter… better.

And England won!

Dan Hardy
Group Managing Director
ASEL

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