15 minutes with Badminton’s Jane Tuckwell

By Carole Mortimer on |



Jane Tuckwell is the assistant director for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, and works at the office in the High Street at Badminton. She talks to the Derby House Post about her role, what it involves and what she loves most about the job.

How long have you been working at Badminton?

My first event was 1974 [the year Capt Mark Phillips won with the HM the Queen’s Columbus]. I was asked to help in the office by the then Director, the late Frank Weldon, because I had recently run a Pony Club one-day-event. And so I became the assistant secretary, then in 1984 I was made secretary and in 2009 became Assistant Director.

Has it always been a full-time?

When I started I worked about three-days a week, from just after Christmas to the day after the event. In the summer I’d go off and do other jobs, cooking or temping in London which in hindsight was good as it meant I learnt other skills and methods from other offices that came in useful.

It’s now a full-time job for me and I have two other more or less full-time in the office, as well as various other people such as the lady who sends out all the passes. Badminton is rather like rolling a giant snowball in that it gathers momentum and collects people over the year as we get nearer the date.

July and August are our easier months and we run on a skeleton staff but we use that time to catch up, tidy the files and work on new little projects.

What is the best part of the job?

Working towards an event that people find so much fun; I really enjoy receiving the entries and working with the riders as to me that is Badminton. I also enjoy working with the tradestands – over the years I have made some really good friends out there – and they are now an important part of the event.

I am also lucky to work to have only worked with two bosses, Frank Weldon and Hugh Thomas, and two sponsors Whitbread and now Mitsubishi. I am lucky as many people don’t enjoy their jobs whereas mine really is part of my everyday life.

What is the downside?

The worst is when we have had to cancel, not so much for me but for the competitors as you know that for some it will have been their only chance to compete at Badminton. It is also, after so much anticipation, such an anti-climax and has such an impact on businesses, local people and the riders.

The other downside is the speed of communication now – you can constantly feel like you are chasing your tail. In the past people had to think much further ahead and now everything is left till so much later and everyone wants instant responses – but that’s modern life.

What are your strengths?

Diplomacy and trying to see the funny side of things; I also like to think I keep two feet on the ground and ultimately remember what it is we are here to do which is run a horse trials, it is not the war office and we are lucky to be here.

And your weaknesses?

Impatience and being a perfectionist which means you expect other people to work to those standards. Although I do think other people will up their game – If I go the extra mile then hopefully others will also.

What makes you tick?

Jobwise, seeing the event come together on the first day and realising we’ve pulled it off and working in such a wonderful place.

Outside of work I enjoy my hunting and still try to hunt three-times a fortnight. I love my animals and my family, walking the dogs, cooking, sewing – I enjoy tapestry – and seeing friends.


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