This month’s Spotlight is on Gareth Jones, Proprietor of Red Hot Property & Proud Sponsor of the Stan Calvert Annual Scholarship

1, Can you give the readers some idea on your background.  What is your interest in sport? Did you play, where and when?

I have always had very strong interest in sport.  I grew up in a sporting family and environment playing Rugby in my younger days for various clubs.  I progressed through the ranks at Nottingham Rugby Club, then to Otley and finally Leeds Tykes. I then wound-down at a local club, Prudhoe & Stocksfield.  Sadly, I had a serious car crash at the age of 21 which interrupted any significant progression at a critical age .  Outside rugby I also enjoyed tennis, running and various martial arts.  The thing I really enjoy about sport, is that it brings people together.  It doesn’t matter who you are or from what social or economic background you come from – it is a great leveller. Sport has a unique way of stripping you back and allows you to be judged on who you are rather than where you are from!

2, Why did you become involved in Sport Tynedale?

I’m a very focused person, but this provides an opportunity to take the focus of yourself and give back.  That process is quite energising and revitalising and gives you an enthusiasm in a completely different way.  Reading through the applications for the bursary is really quite inspiring.  It is humbling to see what struggles some of these young people have had to endure and how they have overcome them.  It’s great to see what motivates people, and to understand their drive and enthusiasm.  I think the bursary provides a small element of support and ultimately a further opportunity.  It is very difficult to succeed purely on talent, the support around you is critical especially at such a pivotal stage of a young sporting career.

3, What advice would you offer your younger self as a Rugby player?

That’s interesting, I remember training on a Thursday night when it was pouring with rain, the mud was like treacle, knowing my friends were in the night clubs but I was motivated to be there with a purpose.  You have to have a drive, you’ve got to have an element of self-belief without taking it all too seriously and ultimately you’ve got to enjoy it.  If you want to succeed in something you have to be prepared to forego something else.  If you don’t enjoy it, what is the purpose of going without, you have to play for the love of the sport.  You have to be prepared to challenge yourself, interact with people that have succeeded and gain crucial tips from them.  Be prepared to make mistakes and to get knocked back, but don’t get dis-heartened and instead see it as part of the process of being successful.

4, Do you have any sporting role models?

Many! I’ve always liked the characters in any sport; people like Ian Botham, Bolt or Senna. In sport I think the spectator element is extremely important and somebody who looks like they are enjoying their sport is great to watch.  In football, players like Zidane and Cantona were great, they had something about them and they were willing to try things that others weren’t.  I can remember reading an Alex Ferguson book in which he referred to Ronaldo’s discipline. He never drank or was out late at parties. His desire for success was greater than that. He was therefore prepared to make those short-term sacrifices. His maverick play was not the result of ill-discipline!

5, Can you talk about your experiences of the Sport Tynedale awards evening?

My first experience was 4 years ago when Edward Heslop invited me and gave me the opportunity to see first-hand what they were doing.  It was great to see talented youngsters at the start of their journey; some of whom may not even realise how close they are to major success.  This particular junction is vitally important and being able to provide support is fantastic. I remember at that age there were many distractions, peer pressure’s and things that can steer you away from your goals. With discipline and support who knows what they can achieve. Ultimately, it is great to give back.  It is a hugely rewarding evening to be part of and such an inspiring process.  I also have huge respect for the many people who don’t get any financial gain or rewards for their efforts, the coaches and mentors, who are simply driven to do what they do because they believe in what they do.  It’s all hugely inspiring.