Five minutes with . . . Jerome Mayhew, managing director of Go Ape talks to Gina Long

PUBLISHED: 14:10 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 14:10 21 October 2014

Jerome Mayhew, Go Ape

Jerome Mayhew, Go Ape


What’s it like being managing director of Go Ape?

I am lucky enough to have a fantastic job, something I try and remind myself of when I go to work each day. The business is based on offering our customers the kind of things we enjoy doing ourselves. It’s easy to sell activities that are inherently fun and engaging. You must need to be a real pro to sell boring stuff. My time is mainly divided between helping to deal with the day to day problems that any business throws up, visiting the tribe at the 28 locations in the UK – and seven in the USA – and thinking about what we should be doing in the next few years. We have a great team that is more than capable of running the business, so I see my role as ‘Delegator in Chief’!

What drives you?

Like a lot of the team at Go Ape I have huge pride in the business. This is something we’ve created. In that sense it’s a bit like a baby. I have a fierce desire to see Go Ape grow and succeed. Like a baby, it has already grown to become a being in its own right. I would love to help it to grow up and reach its full potential as a fantastic provider of all sorts of adventurous activities, encouraging more and more people to live life adventurously.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

For my wife to miraculously love sailing. She is amazing in encouraging our children to sail and in generously spending lots of time on a boat to please me, but we both know she would much rather be having a massage in a spa.

Your earliest memory is?

Walking to church and being given lemon drops by an old lady in the vestry. I was probably three.

When are you happiest?

There are moments when my three children are all really enjoying each other’s company and my wife and I are not distracted by daily stuff and spend some time together. That is really lovely. But all your readers with families will know how rare this is.

Your greatest fear is?

I don’t have a specific fear that grips me. There are obviously lots of terrible things that could happen to your family, but it’s not something I worry unduly about. My approach is that children are incredible survivors and the damage done to their development if you try and protect them far outweighs the tiny risk of a disaster. You should not live your life in fear of the worst.

How do you relax?

If I get the chance it involves a boat. But my guilty pleasure is that late at night, once all my homework and chores have been done, I love to flop in front of the telly and watch whatever terrible film is on.

Where in Suffolk would you most like to be right now?

Heading down the Orwell for a night at the Anchor in the Walton backwaters, the late western sun filling the sails, the peace and solitude of the marshes ahead.

Do you have a treasured possession?

No, I’m not that bothered by possessions. I like to have nice things, like everyone, but they are in order to do something so I don’t treasure them in their own right.

What words or phrases do you most overuse?

Being ‘two steps better’ gets more than its fair share of use and ‘if it was easy everyone would be doing it’ sounds very familiar as well.

Do you have a secret holiday destination you’re prepared to share?

If you have never been to Ireland you’re missing out. Mild and wild at the same time with masses of history and a lyrical English that is impossible to copy, but wonderful to listen to.

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