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» 01 Sep 2009

Fifty pounds may not be worth much. But don't underestimate the potential consequences of a fifty pound bet - your life could change dramatically. Heaven Can Wait...

It began in World War Two when an RAF pilot crash landed his Mosquito aircraft in a field near Uppingham due to engine failure.There he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl who was working in the land army and whom he later married. On October 3rd, 1965, she gave birth to Jason Barry - their third son and fourth and youngest child.

Educated at Loughborough Grammar School, Jason developed a passion for sports which remains to this day. However, in 1984 he was faced with a major decision - to go to university and study law, or stay at home and care for his ailing and recently widowed father. He chose the latter and in 1987 Jason and his family scattered the ashes of his parents in the same field where the Mosquito had landed years before.

Alone in a large house, Jason pondered his future. Fortunately opportunity knocked and Jason began his career coaching sports and teaching geography at a Leicester prep school, he considers it to be one of the best jobs he ever had. Good Advice...

In 1994 Jason, realising that as a semiprofessional cricketer he would never make the 'big-time', accepted a fifty pound bet that he couldn't play a cricket match in fifty different countries, each game raising money for the "Save the Children" charity. Jason accepted the challenge and packed his bags and left home. "My mum once told me 'if you ever get a chance to travel and get out of Leicester take it with both hands.' She was absolutely spot on, so that's exactly what I did."

By 1999 Jason had toured 128 countries, setting a new world record for playing cricket matches in the most number of nations. During those years of travel Jason became skilled at communication and marketing, through having to accommodate sponsors such as Reebok, Fujitsu and Sandals Resorts. He conducted interviews with Nelson Mandela and President Menem of Argentina and even joined Viv Richards' team in Antigua. In Soweto, he became the third ever white man to play cricket there and received some excellent advice...

Imagine a ninety two year old tribal wise-man, dressed only in "Y" fronts, seated on a large Heinz baked beans tin, in a little shack. "I have three pieces of advice for you." The wiseman said. Picking up two rocks he continued, "Your life is like a stone - on its own it is cold, round and hard but when it touches another stone...", he clinked the rocks together, "...it makes a sound.When you meet other people, don't be a cold stone, make music." He paused before asking, "What is your definition of intelligence?" Not sure of the answer, Jason replied, "You're the wise-man of Soweto, you tell me."

"It is very simple. Learn what you did yesterday and apply it to tomorrow. If you always did that, imagine how intelligent you would be." Impressed, Jason asked,"And the third piece of advice?"

"Always remember," the wise man replied, "in Africa - always wear a condom." But it wasn't all fun. Jason worked for the BBC and reported on the scud missile attacks on Israel by Iraq in 1998. In 1999 he went to work for Deloitte auditors in Estonia, applying his skills in marketing and communication to expand the business and in 2002 he incorporated his own public relations and marketing company. By 2007 the global financial crisis had become apparent and so he made the decision to head for greener pastures.

Island Life

An offer from Starwood International Hotels and Resorts brought Jason to Mauritius, where his current job has involved repositioning the Méridien brand and the global marketing launches for The Grand Mauritian and the Four Points hotel in Cyber City. Of course, when it comes to golf he is now spoilt for choice and he enjoys playing cricket at the Gymkhana Club. Indeed, Jason is very much in love with his lifestyle and sees no reason to settle down just yet.As he puts t, "On a Saturday afternoon when I pick up my golf clubs and head off to the golf course, I don't have to explain to anybody where I am going. Some people would say that's nice, some not; for me it's just my lifestyle and if it changes I hope that I'm a flexible enough character to be able to change with it."

Though Jason has travelled more than most and may appear to be a "wandering soul", he is actually rather down to earth and thoughtful. Our conversation ranged from supernovas to the value of introspection and the "grounding" effect of family and friends. Indeed, the only legacy he would like to leave behind for his loved ones is fond memories, accompanied by a smile.
He is still owed the fifty pounds...


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