Left school at 16, worked at Royal Mail in Wolverhampton and Chester for 7 years. Worked at a couple of firms as an Internal Sales person, before working 7 years at Wolverhampton Doctors On Call as IT Analyst / Project Manager producing performance statistics, looking at howe we measured against the National Quality Standards, and working on service improvements and efficiency savings that led to more clinician hours being created for patient care.
In 2011, I started work at the NHS Information Centre, which went on to become NHS Digital as it is now known. I have added many more skills to my armoury such as Prince 2 project management, Agile and Scrum, Service Management, Business Analysis as well as Mentoring and Coaching.
In the 8 years at NHS Digital, I have worked for the General Practice Extraction Service which enabled the first ever automated extraction of GP practice data which led to payments to be calculated for the 7800 practices nationwide. I have also worked for the NHS.uk team working on the early discovery work that led to the NHS App being created which enabled patients to have access to their health details on their smartphones. I managed projects where I allocated career managers to 500 members of the organisation’s Business and Operational Delivery profession. This meant working with effectively a 500-piece human jigsaw with all kinds of different needs and preferences.
Started by running the Liverpool Santa Dash in 2012, I then went on to complete my first 10k in April 2013, then the Great North Run half marathon in September that year. I progressed with my training so that I took part in my first full marathon – Yorkshire Marathon in the October of the following year, 2014.
Since those early days of setting out running, I have now ran over 100 races, including four marathons, a duathlon, a sprint triathlon, and coming up to 200 parkruns. Running is good fun. It helps you see the country and meet lots of new friends. I highly recommend trying it!
I started helping out Wolverhampton Wizards Rugby League club with their press and match reports. Within a year, I was their club manager looking after or overseeing all their off-pitch activities. This was their best spell at the club as we had built passion off the pitch as well as recruiting well on the pitch. They won the Midlands Regional Championship whilst I was at the helm which was great to be a part of.
Something was missing. The passion was missing. What if a club could be set up with players who loved Rugby League? What if it was their number one choice of sport? If there was a fixture clash of union or league, would they choose league? That is what I was looking for. So that is what I went out and built. Together with two like-minded colleagues, I set up Wolverhampton Warlords and built this dream. Within two years we had 200 people try out Rugby League for the first time or brought them back to the sport. Not all stayed, but a lot of them reignited that passion for the game once again. I was given an award for being Pioneer of the Year by the sport’s governing body for this dedication to the local game.
Before I left to move back up North, I negotiated with the other club and arranged that the two sides would merge to pool resources and talents. That stronger depth was now there with greater Rugby League nous involved and I could leave the sport in the area confident that my work was done.
When back in Yorkshire, I got involved with local community tag rugby . Soon again, I was managing, coaching as well as playing, leading and coaching Wakefield CRL (Community Rugby League) to a great season of achievements, picking up several pieces of silverware on the way. After a great year, the club were adopted by Featherstone Rovers as their official tag and touch rugby side, chalking up a number of tournament wins and winning the league that year, but losing out in the play off final. We had a win rate of 69% that year, and whilst it was dramatic on and off the pitch a lot of the time, I spent significantly more time on the #winning side!
After I had taken part in the 2013 Great North Run, I had written a piece on Facebook to all the supportive friends I had at Sweatshop Castleford. It had described my journey from stepping up from running my first ever 10k that April to five months later running the greatest half marathon in the World – the Great North Run. People said to me after reading that piece, that I should write a blog and to think about writing about ‘my story’ of starting running. I was overwhelmed by the support and happiness that writing an appreciative thank you to friends and other runners that it led me to think that maybe I could enjoy writing and sharing what comes into my head on running and other subjects. Some six years later and I am still blogging, still writing content for social media, and still getting appreciative comments from other runners and friends about my content. You can read my blog posts at www.richlord.co.uk
After people had started paying interest in my writing, I decided to convert some of those blog posts about my first steps running into an e-book. I wrote the book, I got a cover designed for me and the copy converted into the format required and got my e-book published online.