Day in the life of Steve Turner

Steve Turner has experienced the thrill of Olympic competition not once but twice but now lives in Sheringham with his wife and two daughters.

Day in the life Steve Turner

Steve Turner has experienced the thrill of Olympic competition not once but twice – in 1988 at Seoul and in 1992 at Barcelona. These days, the rowing he does tends to be on machines rather than boats, as he devotes his time to imparting his “can-do” philosophy to everyone from school pupils to high-flying executives at his Bramley Lakes centre at Horsford. Steve, 45, is married to Kate, has teenage daughters Abbey and Jessica and lives at Sheringham. Interview by Mark Tweedie.

I’ve been an early riser since my days of taking to the water first thing, so it’s up at 6am and on most days a session on the “ergo”, my indoor rower, a bike ride or gym work before breakfast of Sugar Puffs, toast and marmalade. The family is in all of a rush at that time of day. I’m at work for about 8am.

I’m into my sixth year at Bramley Lakes. I’d worked all over the world – Germany, Japan and a spell in the USA – but had this passion to run my own business. I wanted an outdoor centre, something I could mould into what I wanted it to be. Bramley was on the market and fitted the bill, and, a while later, the family moved to Norfolk, which has been good. We’ve a more relaxed way of life, we live near the sea and when I go to London on business it’s so satisfying to arrive back at Norwich station for a leisurely drive home.

So, what does Bramley Lakes do? It’s a team development centre of excellence, where we try to improve people’s performance and give them an insight into how they can achieve certain things in life; learn in a relaxed environment with a bit of fun. Believe me, it’s fantastic seeing a group of people get together, work as a team and do something extraordinary. If there’s a desire to learn, we’ll find a way to capture and harness new skills. Yes, it’s having a “can-do” attitude but also it’s about asking why people won’t do something. That can mean addressing their fear of failure; often confidence is the major issue.

About three-quarters of our portfolio is corporate clients from all over Europe – we’ve worked with Aviva especially, plus, among others, Bernard Matthews, O2, Saatchi & Saatchi – then there are councils, the RAF, police and fire services, children from about 11 years old and charitable organisations such as Nelson’s Journey and Break. We offer the “Bramley experience”, and you might stay with us for 48 hours, four days or return a number of times.

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Half of the time is spent outdoors. We’ve 11 acres complete with high and low ropes, a climbing tower, and all sorts. Indoors, we’ll explore relationships, communication, coaching and leadership. While here, you’ll come into contact with me at some point. I’m involved with everything that goes on, from talking to new clients to designing and delivering our programmes. Also, I do one-to-one personal coaching on the telephone with people at director and board level, and I’m a Norfolk sports ambassador, working with schools to foster motivation and leadership through sport; encouraging young people to have a go.

Lunch, not surprisingly, is often a sandwich on the run! But my family eats together in the evenings, and, fortunately for the girls, Mum’s a really good cook because I’d just make a mess. I like traditional English as well as spicy things and I guess I’ve eaten every shape of pasta in my time. To unwind, I’ll return to the ergo or try to tire out our black labrador, Lizzie, in Sheringham woods. I’m a social golfer and I enjoy reading autobiographies; Sir Richard Branson, Sir Clive Woodward, Lance Armstrong.

Taking part in the Olympics, the whole journey and experience, still inspires me today. How did it happen? As a boy, I moved around with Dad, an RAF aircraft engineer, on postings in the UK and overseas, before settling at Marlow, Buckinghamshire. I loved rugby, playing at colts level with Northampton. Then my English teacher introduced me to rowing and, one cold, wet and windy afternoon, this over-sized, plump, 15-year-old first took to the Thames. As I got more into it, I trained at the Leander club at Henley-on-Thames and I made the national team in 1987. At Seoul, our eight came fourth, a 10th of a second from a bronze; possibly the worst place to finish! Later, I won bronze at the world championships, rowing in a four with a young Matthew Pinsent. I took a year out but came back to compete at Barcelona, where we came sixth.

What the Olympic movement does, the achievement and the friendship, is phenomenal. I had a fantastic celebration when London got the games, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than if we’ve helped at Bramley Lakes to create the ambition in somebody to compete in 2012.

Steve can be contacted on 01603 893200,

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