Last week I had the pleasure of hosting the annual Greenwich Starting Blocks Trust Dinner at the stunning new InterContinental Hotel at The 02. Greenwich Starting Blocks is a charity that financially supports talented young, Greenwich-based elite athletes to enable them to achieve their sporting dreams – and in the process bring great kudos to the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

My affinity with the Borough of Greenwich goes back a long way – I was born in Plumstead in the late 50’s and I went to school at Conway Primary in Gallosson Road (where I now have the honour of being a school governor) and then at Shooters Hill Grammar School in Red Lion Lane, Woolwich. I have very fond memories of my childhood and I was extremely fortunate to live in a road that had Plumstead Common at one end of it and Winn Common just a few minutes walk away.

My early memories of Plumstead are of a quiet, almost country town with small shops owned by people who knew the names of all their customers. It was dominated by Beasley’s Brewery which occupied most of the main part of the town and indeed several of my relatives used to work there, including an old uncle who became the night watchman and I remember popping in to see him from time to time with my Dad. I still remember the evocative sight of the magnificent dray horses leaving through the main gates in Lakedale Road. Sadly, all that’s left to mark the fact that Beasley’s Brewery was in Plumstead is the road named after it – Brewery Road. The other large employer in the town was the United Dairies depot, a place that I got to know very well as my first ever job was as a milk boy, helping yet another of my uncles on his weekend milk-round.

At that time, the main shopping area for the people of Plumstead was Woolwich, with its colourful market and shops such as Garratt’s and Cuffs in Powis Street, the places where all the school uniforms for Plumstead schoolchildren were bought and which surely were the models for the iconic 70’s sitcom ’Are you being served?’. The Royal Arsenal, with its imposing, huge wall was always a place of mystery to the locals.

On leaving school I went into banking with Midland Bank Ltd and my first ever branch was Wellington Street, Woolwich. I remember that my manager, Norman Geary used to come to work in a bowler hat and he always carried a rolled umbrella, the quintessential ‘Captain Mainwaring-type’ bank manager.

Although I enjoyed playing rugby for five years at Shooters Hill, for me, my over-riding passion was football – both playing it on Sunday mornings and of course, watching my team, Charlton Athletic at The Valley. My heroes included the likes of Eddie Firmani, Keith Peacock, Charlie Wright and of course Derek Hales. If someone had told me at the time that I would become friends with all of these icons of the Club and in the case of Hales and Peacock actually play with them for the Charlton Athletic Veterans Team, I would never have believed them.

As a supporter of Charlton I was at The Valley that fateful day when the club clumsily and insensitively informed us of its intention to move the club to Selhurst Park – it seemed like the end of the world. Ironically, just a couple of years later I found myself heading to Selhurst Park on a daily basis as the Club’s new Commercial Manager, a position I held for three years before moving to The Football League. After 9 years at The League and one season at Swindon Town, I returned to Charlton Athletic in 2000 to support Chief Executive Peter Varney. It was an amazing time for the Club as we won promotion to the Premier League and stayed there for some seven years. Sadly, two relegations in three seasons saw me leave at the end of the 2008/09 season to embark on a new career as a freelance marketing consultant.

Greenwich is still playing a big part in my life as, in my role as an Ambassador of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), I work closely with my colleagues at the Trust on a number of projects and I am a member of the Charlton Athletic ‘Back at The Valley’ 25th Anniversary Committee chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, which has been set up to organise a number of commemorative events to celebrate the iconic return to The Valley and also the launch of CACT in 1992.

However, as a Plumstead boy, one of the most rewarding aspects of my work is being a founding Trustee of the aforementioned Greenwich Starting Blocks charity, whichwas established in 2007 to identify and financially support talented young Greenwich-based athletes to help them to achieve their sporting dreams of representing Team GB in London 2012, when Greenwich was an Olympic Host Borough. Growing up playing football on Winn Common, using ‘jumpers for goalposts’, the Olympics was something that happened in far off lands such as Tokyo and which we watched on grainy black and white televisions. We would never have believed back then that the Olympics would one day be staged in Greenwich and Woolwich.

I had the pleasure of hosting our annual Dinner last Wednesday (4th October)  when our special guest was Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. As our 270 Dinner guests heard, over the past 10 years since our launch we have seen Starting Blocks-backed athletes such as Gemma Gibbons, Zoe Smith, Tosin Oke, Susie Rodgers and Daryll Nieta, winning Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and World Championship medals.

My fellow Trustees and I are all excited by the potential of the next generation of Greenwich-based athletes so ‘watch this space’, there are more medals to come from our athletes with all eyes now firmly on Tokyo 2020.

It’s just occurred to me – ‘From a milk-round to the Olympics’ – now that’s what I call a title of a book!