Before becoming a tour guide I worked in sales and management for many years, culminating in a role as a sales and management trainer. I had also worked as a DJ and presenter for many years, working in hotels, nightclubs, holiday parks, as a children’s entertainer and as a volunteer on hospital radio.
Since I was a small boy I had always been a massive fan of The Beatles, and in more recent years enjoyed sharing The Beatles sights of Liverpool with family and friends. When I discovered that Liverpool had won the European Capital of Culture Award for 2008, I felt that this would be a great time for a change in career. I decided to turn my hobby into my job and pursue a new role as an International Visitor Host and Tourism Guide specialising in The Beatles’ Trail.
What is your favourite spot you visit on your tours and why?
My favourite spot we visit on the tours is Woolton Village. This is where John Lennon grew up and lived for most of his life. As I live close to here, I am lucky enough to meet lots of people who knew John (and The Beatles!) and I love to share stories with my tour tour guests that have been shared with me by the locals – these are stories you won’t read in any books! This is also a very historic village in The Beatles’ story, as it is the place where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time.
In my role as a tour guide I’ve always believed that tour guests may not always remember what I did or said, but they WILL remember the way I made them FEEL – and this is what I think makes a tour with me extra special. I like to include in my tours information, education, and entertainment – with the emphasis on entertainment. Some of my stories will make our tour guests laugh – some stories may just jerk a tear, but all of the stories will leave a lasting memory of how they felt on their Beatles Tour of Liverpool.
What’s the most bizarre experience or odd request from a client you’ve had on a guided tour?
I have had many bizarre experiences on the tour, and every guide has his ups and downs. One of the strangest things I experience are some of the very strange questions I am asked whilst on the tour. As a matter of fact, I was actually thinking of writing a book ‘Very Strange Questions Asked of a Tour Guide by Beatles Fans’! The number one example is ‘What can you tell me about such and such that NOBODY knows about?’
When you’re not busy guiding tours – what’s your favourite thing to do?
When I’m not busy doing tours I enjoy walking with my dog, Harry, around the many parks and gardens Liverpool has to offer, but especially through Woolton Woods and Calderstones Park where John Lennon would play as a boy. I also enjoy reading and writing, and I have accumulated quite a collection of Beatles books (of course!) over the years which I like to revisit on a regular basis
I also very much enjoy travel and sightseeing too. However, my wife and I would visit places, we may do some walking and exploring, but we would very often be wandering around aimlessly for hours, often heading in the wrong direction and missing lots of things of interest! We decided we could make much better use of our holiday time by engaging the services of a local guide. We have found this works really well for us, as we are both interested in seeing the sights and hearing stories from an expert on the subject, and most importantly, we also get to see things we may have otherwise missed.
And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?
When choosing a local guide we always do some research as we personally prefer small group tours as opposed to large coach tours, although we will do coach tours if that is the only tour on offer – those hop on hop off tours are really very good in the main! With a small group though, we are much more likely to get into the nooks and crannies that larger tours may not be able to visit and you get to see things at ‘street level’, much better for capturing photographs too! When looking for a guide check out their website, look for photographs of tour guests and their reviews and just see if you like the look of the person – your first impression will likely be the right one!