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Simon Weston | Business Club preview

The government’s move to Stage 3 of the country’s easing of pandemic restrictions provides the green light for the club’s first in-person of this size taking place on Monday, May 24, 2021.

The Business Club welcomes partners and local industries to visit Mattioli Woods Welford Road and hear from guest speakers throughout the season. 

Next week, the club welcomes former army veteran and activist Simon Weston, whose initial Business Club appearance was postponed back in May 2020 due to the pandemic.

We caught up with him ahead of his visit to the home of Leicester Tigers…

Firstly Simon, how has the pandemic been for you and your family?

“I think it’s been the same as everyone else – it’s been frustrating but also reflective. I think if we’ve learned anything about COVID, it is that we must be better prepared as a society when things don’t always go as planned. 

"We can’t be complacent. From sports to business, we’re all competing for that promotion or to accelerate our function – we’ve got to change. It’s the one constant in our lives and it is how we adapt to that change.”

And you’re a rugby man yourself?

“I used to play yes, but my career was over at the age of 20, when I got blown up! I played and captained the London District when I was 16, I played for the Army under-20s. I still enjoy watching it today and as a proud Welshman, I think (the Six Nations) was a big surprise for everyone – I can’t remember seeing so many controversial decisions.

“To win anything in sport, there is a slice of luck – especially in rugby because there are so many infractions of the law, as everyone is trying to get ahead. It can be very hard to referee.”

Has the last year or so changed what you will be talking about next week?

“It’s nearly 39 years since the Falklands and when I got blown up and my life changed – I’m just lucky to be here. My heart stopped twice and it’s hard to imagine you can come so far after something so terrible. But I’ll also share some of the bizarre, the funny and the irreverent.

“You often hear rugby speakers talk about the nonsense that people bring. A good friend of mine Jeremy Pugh (former Wales international) tells me about the funny things on and off the field and I can relate to that as an ex-soldier. People do daft things in the heat of the moment, and it’s important to understand, no matter what goes on in sport, in business, in war – you boil it all down to the fact we’re all human.”

Do the environments of rugby and conflict share similar outlooks? 

"Without doubt. When you look at rugby, it’s a chess game, played with the greatest of intensity and the highest level of brutality. But the thing you learn is that you go out with a plan – to get from A to B. It looks like a straight line and simple, but nothing is linear, the opposition have their plan to disrupt, distract and inflict damage.

"We all choose our careers and our paths, and sometimes that comes with injury and sacrifice. When you bring it all together, being a service person and a sports player, there are very similar outlooks." 

And finally, you’ve been involved with the Brave Britons awards?

“It’s all to do with a British chap who created a hearing aid company in Italy, and wanted to help people who had lost their hearing through conflict. The Brave Britons is about nominating people who have gone above and beyond to make a difference. 

"What I’ve learned about life, when you face a life threatening situation – it’s amazing how religious we all suddenly become. If there is a greater plan for us, he or she will tell us but in the meantime, the reason we are here is to make a difference. 

“If you do that by earning fortune, creating employment or charitable contributions – or in sport through the emotions of the game. There are also changes I’ll be making in my life when we’re all able to return to a full way of working and I certainly won’t take a single thing for granted again." 

Tickets are still available to join the final two Business Club events of the 2020/21 season, with the second welcoming former heavyweight champion of the world David Haye on Wednesday, June 30.

For full details, click below.