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News > Alumni News > Member's Musings > If it involves liquids, Hodge is your man!

If it involves liquids, Hodge is your man!

David "Hodge" Hodgkinson (School House, 1963) in advance of the School House Centenary reunion, gives a brief, potted life history for those who remember him as, sadly, he cannot attend the party.
Hodge & his wife Lidia in Wales just before leaving the UK
Hodge & his wife Lidia in Wales just before leaving the UK

I very much enjoy The Lerpoolians website and read almost everything, though more those posts from around my era - I had, in fact, booked a flight to come over for the School House Centenary bash but have had to cancel following a small stroke which left my left arm partially dead, which would have meant driving a right-hand-drive hire car difficult if not dangerous, but will keep trying to get over to one of the get-togethers.

A very young Hodge & his Mum

But I'd like to take the opportunity to highlight two recent stories published on the site. The interview with Ian Lightbody and, more recently, Brian Sheridan's musings on swimming.

Ian Lightbody is a man for whom I have always had the utmost respect; against the grain perhaps he gave me the chance of being Drum Major in the CCF, probably my first chance at any form of leadership and whilst I don't think in hindsight I did a particularly good job, I will never forget his kindness when he was a prefect, in spite of the age difference.

I also read Brian's story [about his lifelong enjoyment of swimming] and did think of commenting as swimming was always my favourite sport both in terms of enjoyment and modest success.  Like Brian, I used to train in private sessions at Garston Baths whenever I could as I had the benefit of an uncle called Austin Rawlinson, himself an Olympic Swimmer in the 1926 Olympics and then a British Team Coach. Later, when I left and joined the Met Police Cadets, I used to join him at Crystal Palace for further training with Anita Lonsborough. Whilst at school, I had gained a record in the 4 lengths Breaststroke in a time which Austin felt warranted my inclusion in the British Training Squad, but in what became a heated argument with my father, this idea was squashed as my father said there was no future in it - he was probably right.  I had, like Brian, entered the Masters' Games in Japan in 2021, [Approximately 50,000 participants: from outside Japan: 20,000 from within Japan: 30,000] but due to Covid and my having to have stents put in my aorta, I never made it to Japan, although I think the games ended up being cancelled, but I had achieved the qualifying times here in Poland and would have loved to have gone.

Lamb cuddling on a geography field trip

Whilst in the Police Cadets, I Captained both Swimming & Hockey Teams at Hendon and became proficient at both Wrestling and Judo, as I bulked up from the 5'8" schoolboy to 6'1" with muscles thanks to rigorous training routines. I also played Hockey for the REME whilst in the Army some years later and, in my mid 40's, gained a National Canoeing Bronze Medal in Sprint Championships at Holme Pierpoint [home of the National Water Sports Centre].

Having thought myself something of a dunce education wise I set out to prove I wasn't and gained several additional 'O' levels as well as A level Economics and both ONC & HNC Business Studies, which, if nothing else, proved to my father that I wasn't as stupid as he used to frequently tell me.


I had a variety of jobs in Industry too numerous to mention, but I have attached a note a former Director of Carlsberg wrote to support his business as a Recruitment and Training Consultant, which he had posted on Linkedin. I admit I would have been happier if he had asked me first, but it may help to fill in the gaps.



Risk and Reward in Recruitment on LinkedIn  by Jonathan Ratcliff MISM


When I was promoted to Sales Director in Carlsberg, there was a Vacancy for a Regional Manager. This was a vital position for me as they would be the Leader of a team as well as a member of my Senior Leadership team.

I had seen a very capable candidate in the morning and I was minded to award them the role.

In the afternoon, I travelled to meet "Hodge"  who only had a short history of working in the Drinks Industry but a long history of working in other Industries - most notably as a Steel Trader.

He blew me away.

He had prepared diligently for the interview, knew that I would be taking a big risk with him because of his lack of drinks experience, but he more than made up for it with his attitude, experience in other fields and anticipation of my reservations.

The thing that struck me then was that he had the passion and enthusiasm of a young man but the experience of someone in their 50's. He was older than me but I have never seen age as a barrier.

I took the risk with Hodge and he never let me down. On the contrary, it was as a consequence of his "fresh pair of eyes" that helped me and the rest of the team to come up with a Sales Strategy that turned the Region around.

I still keep in touch with Hodge and thank him regularly for his support, care and enthusiasm. His efforts made me look good.

He taught me to recruit people with the right attitude regardless of age, experience.

Here's to the  "Hodges" in our lives who generate great results through their positive mental attitudes, leadership and charisma.


Home in The Welsh Hills

Having earned a good living over the years, I was able to retire at 55 and spent 10 happy years in the Welsh Hills hacking a garden out of the hillside and surrounded by some wonderful wildlife before emigrating to Poland with my wife on my 65th Birthday.

I'm sorry I cannot join you in the Centenary celebration of School House. I would love to have been there. To my contemporaries (or indeed any other Lerpoolian who thinks I might help them in some way), please feel free to contact me through The Lerpoolians "Network" or "Messaging" pages.

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