This year, I’ve decided to set myself an almighty challenge; completing 40 marathons in 40 days to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Prince’s Trust.
You might be thinking I’m mad, but the challenges I’ve faced in my personal life is what spurs me on to help others. My goal is to raise £1m to help The Trust give young people a chance of a positive future and I’m determined to see this through.
I will cover a marathon path across London every day for six weeks in the summer. I’ve taken part in 24 marathons to date. I am aiming to enlist 40 corporate supporters to sponsor me for a day each at £25,000 a time, to raise the £1m.
I was born in Bermondsey, London (where I live now), but moved with my mother and siblings to Rhodesia in South Africa when I was seven; we were looking for a fresh start away from my father. We spent four years here dodging petrol bombs and bullets during the tumultuous period of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).
My stepfather and I would retune old pianos we scavenged from other condemned houses and then sell them down at Old Kent Road. I had a colourful start to life!
I left school at 16 and joined Rockwell as an electrical electronics engineering apprentice. I would roller-skate seven miles there and seven miles back because I couldn’t afford the bus.
I always tell people my success has been down to some lucky breaks, as well as hard work and determination to have a better future.
I then moved to Telecity, now the leading data centre business in Europe. Some 90% of Britain’s internet traffic passes through the centre I helped to create in the London Docklands. I joined when the company was almost bankrupt, took it private at £23m, and re-listed it after consolidation at £400m – it was worth £1.6bn when I left in October 2014.
I’m hoping that by taking on such a big challenge, I’ll inspire people to donate and show them that by challenging ourselves we can make life better for someone else.