Speaker and Event Host
I was no different from most people of my era fearing public speaking, unlike the youngsters of today.
I chucked a golf competition, aged 13 so that I didn’t have to make the acceptance speech, I wriggled out of ever reading the lesson at school due to that dreaded sore throat and I hated the thought of a microphone to accentuate my weakness.
Public speaking is now my life and I love the thrill that every event brings. I once set up a small business, The Great Delivery Company, which was a play on cricketers and the orators’ terminology. It was a challenge teaching people how to improve their public speaking, especially when often the client was more proficient than the tutor. Slowly I expanded from the after dinner scenario into the fields of Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneering. It was a natural progression and the bigger the event the better I like it.
I imagine this has emanated from being a natural entertainer as a sportsman and the love of the adrenalin rush. I get a huge thrill from being at the helm of a successful event. Running to time, getting the best out of the entertainment, the fundraising and vitally the audience. I prepare for all events conscientiously, but it is strange how many times that the improvisation and off-the-cuff remark has the most impact. My only bugbear as a speaker is if the event runs so late that you start speaking after the time guests were hoping to go home; which is why when I am the Event host we finish on time.
The common question asked of me is, ‘What’s it like having a famous father?’ It is fine until you decide to go into the same field.
My father Colin Cowdrey (Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge CBE) was a household name, a cricket legend, and much loved worldwide. At the age of seven a very bright, intellectual schoolboy sat down next to me in class and said ‘I am so excited to be next to you, as you are the only celebrity I know!’ Therein lies the problem. Forever you become a celebrity without an achievement of your own. Comments such as ‘we know why he’s been selected as Captain’ and ‘he’s only playing because…’ hurt me however much I laughed it off. So I decided just to enjoy every day in sport as if it was my last and I loved the camaraderie of the team.
My passion was to lead teams and becoming Captain of England in 1988 was just the pinnacle of my career. My Father and me became only the second father and son combination to captain England and also with brother Graham we set another record of a Cowdrey on a Kent team sheet for 48 consecutive years. It is strange to think that my Grandfather played a first class match around 1926 and my son Fabian a fourth generation Cowdrey for Kent in 2016. Maybe Graham, me and Fabian would have done better without the burden of following a legend, but it’s been a fun 90 years!
I don’t know why I always see the funny side of life?!
My brother Jay has a sharp wit, sister Carol is hysterically funny and youngest brother Graham was the practical joker in the Kent dressing room. It came from my Mother. She had a wicked sense of humour once hoisting a good friends’ underpants and trousers high up a flag pole above Eastbourne beach. He had only gone in for a quick dip. On April Fool’s day 1965 she barricaded her neighbour’s gate with traffic cones, dustbins and bricks so that he couldn’t get out to work in the morning. He missed his train and a seriously important Board meeting.
I live for humour and I never go through a day without offering something to make others laugh although perhaps they don’t always find me as funny as I find myself. I have written hundreds of scripts for Michael McIntyre and a new series of Fawlty Towers, but of course they have never left my home. Why can I remember something funny way back in time yet can rarely remember a dull but vital bit of information for a school exam? For instance I still chuckle to myself when I recall driving through West London with Mark Nicholas two days after The Great Storm of 1987. Hurricane winds had swept across UK and the common to our right was littered with fallen trees. As our eyes were transfixed on the sheer destruction I turned to him and said with a hint of resignation ‘another windy night.’ I can’t forget that moment because he found it so funny – humour is infectious and it makes me feel good.
- Born in Farnborough Kent 1957
- Schools: Wellesley House Broadstairs, Tonbridge School
Professional Cricket Career:
- Kent CCC 1976 – 1990 Glamorgan CCC 1991
- Captained Young England to West Indies 1976
- Played all 5 Tests and 3 ODI’s on England tour of India 1984/85
- Appointed Captain of England 1988 v West Indies
- Summariser on Test Match Special for 4 years from 1995
- Appointed lead presenter on Talksport Radio for 6 years from 1999
- Published autobiography with Jonathan Smith, Good Enough? 1985
- Published children’s book, Freddie meets Freddie 2006
Event Host and Advisor
- Co-Founder & Chairman of “FunRaising Events” auction business in 2006
- Created the Event Doctor in 2015
- Event advisor to Hospice in the Weald 2015-
- Event advisor to Lord’s Taverners HQ 2016-
- President of W.Kent Taverners 2005-2011 & 2016 –
- President of Lord’s Taverners 2012-2015
- Trustee of Lord’s Taverners 2015/2016
- Theatre UK Tour- The Holy Bail with David Gower 2017