Andy Bennett figured he had reached the height of his profession when he became Betting Shop Manager of the Year.
But at the weekend, the affable Scotbet manager took his year as retail betting’s champion to a new level when he did a parachute jump for charity.
Bennett, from Selkirk, describing it “as far and away the scariest thing I have ever done”, was raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit at his local hospital in the Borders.
He added: “Eleven hours’ worth of training, theory and practical and I finally managed to jump just after 7.30pm. It's really hard to explain the feeling as you sit on the edge of the tiny plane with your feet out preparing to jump into the unknown.
“You the drop at a speed of 100ft per second accelerating to 200ft per second before the parachute opens. Of the six who were booked in to do the jump on that day, only three went through with it. I'm still amazed I was one of the three that did!”
So far, Bennett has raised £1100 from the jump to go with £1000 from a charity event at Kelso races, all of which will go to the Care Unit, and he said: “Without the publicity that this competition has brought, there is no way I would have been able to raise anywhere near the amount of money I have.”
This year’s SIS/Racing Post Betting Shop Manager of the Year competition has reached the next stage, with the final 49 due to receive a visit from a mystery shopper before the competitors are whittled down to 24 who will attend a day with the judges at Doncaster before eight regional champions are announced on the SIS service on November 1.
Each regional champion, along with a key member of staff, will attend the final selection at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London, with the final on Monday, November 19 - a glittering lunch and awards ceremony where the overall winner will be crowned.
The Betting Shop Manager of the Year recognises the winner by giving him or her a sample of the VIP lifestyle, topped this year by a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Singapore Airlines International Cup.