Proud Scot: My father is a Scottish doctor from Wick, in Caithness, in the far north of Scotland. My mother was an English nurse. They met at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. I’m the youngest of three boys. The eldest was born in Scotland, but my middle brother and I were born in England. My dad was working as a doctor for British Rail and we lived in Harrogate, in Yorkshire – and that’s where I was born in 1971. My middle brother and I were jealous of the elder one who was born in Scotland. I pride myself on being a Scot. We returned to Scotland when I was four and lived in Gullane, 20 miles east of Edinburgh. It’s a lovely village on the sea. Everyone knew everyone and after school we went out on our bikes and played until it got dark. Social skills: I went to the local primary school and for secondary school I went to the Edinburgh Academy. I did a lot of drama at school, played sport and organised school events. When I went to university, I thought I might go into acting, or journalism, because I loved writing. I went to St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, and studied history. I became the student social secretary. I enjoyed organising events, so I didn’t pursue acting. My middle brother, Andy, had joined the police in Hong Kong, so as graduation approached I went through the interview process for the Hong Kong Police, at Grafton Street in London, and was accepted. Going someplace else: I arrived in Hong Kong on August 20, 1992, and spent the first nine months at the Police Training School in Wong Chuk Hang. The worst part was that Andy was the physical training instructor for the new recruits, so I had to call him “sir” and salute him. After that initial difficult period, Andy and I grew close. My oldest brother is a pilot for Virgin and twice a month he’d fly to Hong Kong. The crew hotel was the Sheraton, so twice a month the three of us would meet at the hotel bar, Someplace Else. We saw more of each other than we ever had before. Shock and awe: Andy had previously worked in the New Territories and said Fanling, at the time a “Frontier District”, was a lively and fun post. My instructor was surprised when I put in my request to go there. I realised why when I got up there. In 1993, it was no longer a lively post. I found myself in a big empty compound. After the initial shock, I enjoyed it and was there for three years. There was a good expat community based around the Better ’Ole pub in Fanling . I was a sub-unit commander looking after a group of about 40 men and women who patrolled the streets. The majority were older than I was and more experienced, so it was a steep learning curve. Intruder alert: I lived in the police quarters between the Fanling golf course and Beas River (Country Club). There were six flats in the block and as we approached the handover expatriate police officers were leaving. We had a lot of farewell mess nights and the lowering of the Union Jack. I’d studied history and for the first time in my life I felt like I was living through it. By that stage I was working in the Police Tactical Unit and we had a lot of interaction with the British military. In 1995, I was the only one living in the apartment block. It was then that I made the one and only arrest of my police career – in my own flat. I’d come off night duty and gone to bed only to be woken half an hour later to find an illegal immigrant in my bedroom staring at me. I leapt out of bed, chased him through the flat and grabbed him at the front door. Still holding him, I called the police station and asked them to send a car around. He’d been living in one of the abandoned flats and stealing food. Copping out: A friend of mine, Mark Sharp, was the assistant manager of the Police Officers’ Club in Causeway Bay. He’d wanted to change his posting but had to find someone to replace him in order to be released. I liked the sound of it; I wasn’t a very good police officer. I loved it and ended up doing five years there organising kids’ parties, an Elvis Presley fan club, boxing evenings, sports programmes for kids. It was there that I met the woman who would become my wife, Noelle, who was working as a receptionist in one of the restaurants. I realised that organising events was what I wanted to do. I did a part-time course at HKU Space in Sport and Recreation Management and started looking for job opportunities. Game changer: From school through to university and in Hong Kong I’d always been involved in rugby. I played for the Hong Kong “A” team 15s and Sevens in the late 1990s and had helped the Rugby Union out with some events. In 2003, the Rugby Union created a new position of community rugby manager. I got the job and started with the union in the September. We had 23 staff. In 2005, we hosted the World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong for the second time and on the back of that success were able to build out the unit. We’ve now got 102 full-time staff and 75 full-time male and female professional athletes. In 2013, we started live music at the Sevens, bringing out The Beach Boys, and in 2015, we brought stunt actors from a kung fu school in China to do kung fu rugby. In 2013, we set up the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation to bring about positive change in the community. We’ve done rugby for special needs kids, deaf people and kids with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I became CEO 2½ years ago. I was in Jakarta when our men’s sevens team won its first ever Asian Games Rugby Sevens gold medal in 2018. Tackling Covid-19: When you are involved with the Sevens you have a feeling that you’ve been handed a family heirloom. Nobody really understands the secret of its success. There’s almost a sense of don’t break it, don’t try and change it too much, because if you don’t understand why it works then by tweaking it, fiddling, you might end up breaking the magic. This is the first time the Sevens has been cancelled since its debut, in 1976. We rely on the Sevens for 95 per cent of our revenue, a precarious business model that we are trying to address. Covid-19 has exposed underlying commercial weaknesses, particularly in rugby. Rugby doesn’t have the level of broadcast money that football has. With this level of disruption, when international games are not being played and the turnstiles are not clicking through, broadcasters are not paying money, we are as a global rugby community having to think about how we can come up with a more sustainable model. At home in Hong Kong: As much as I am still a proud Scot, I’ve spent more than half my life in Hong Kong. It’s my home and I don’t see myself going back to Scotland. I’d like to stay in Hong Kong and continue to contribute to the city. There are some significant challenges ahead as a society and a community and sport can play an important role in trying to rebuild social cohesion and I’d like to play a part in that. Hong Kong has been really good to me, I’ve had a fantastic time here, I’d like to try and give back as much as I can.