|5 Jan 2023
|Life After Hymers
Over the last decade, Nick Wright started to train for triathlons and duathlons. It was after the arrival of his second child, around 10 years ago that he found his passion for sailing was taking up too much of his time away at weekends. So, he decided to give a new sport a go where he could fit the training and competitions more around family time and work commitments, yet still have something to serve his urge for sporting competition.
Training allowed me to shut down (just for a little time at least) all the outside 24/7 ‘noise’ that we all have to endure. I think the 90s were the last decade of real freedom. The internet was still in its infancy and I count myself extremely lucky to have grown up in that era.
I started off entering local competitions, then progressed to regional events as I enjoyed the sport more and more, ultimately entering qualifying races with the aim of representing GBR in the Age Group championships. At an event in Clumber Park (Sherwood Forest) in 2020 I finished within the required qualifying time to represent GBR (45-49 Age Group category) at the 2021 European Sprint Distance Duathlon Championships. This was due to be held in Romania but was subsequently cancelled because of Covid and re-scheduled for September 2022 in Bilbao – somewhere I’d longed to visit for its World-renowned architecture and to pull out my best GSCE Spanish. The race consisted of a 5km run, a 20km cycle and another run of 2.5km to finish – which I covered in a total combined time of 1hr 14mins 16secs, finishing 21st out of 28. As a first venture on to the international scene I was pleased to beat some compatriots across the line, but more importantly didn’t disgrace myself or the family name which was a bonus and surprise in equal measure. The whole event was a great experience and one I would like to repeat. It’s well and truly whet the appetite so this year the planning and preparation has already started to try and secure a place at the same event in 2024 (host destination yet to be announced). It seems a long way off, but we know how time flies. After all, it only seems like yesterday we were leaving school and signing our friend’s shirts!
Nick in the Junior School Football Team (back row, 3rd from left)
Nick studied at Hymers College, starting in the Junior School in 1984 until completing his A Levels in 1994. He lived for sports while at school, particularly enjoying rugby:
We were lucky enough to have a pretty successful year group and a few went on to play representative rugby. I also enjoyed tennis and the ski trips – I wish skiing had been part of the curriculum.
The commitment to rugby and training soaked up so much time and left little space for much else. If I had my time again, I would have tried to get a better balance and pursue other things (e.g. DoE). Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Nick has fond memories of the teachers during his time at Hymers:
To be fair I had a lot of favourites and as I progressed through the school I warmed to more and more. I guess you’d have to ask them if they warmed to me. However, I suppose the standouts were ALL the sports staff led by Mr Fitzpatrick (aka Fitzy - a scary teacher the day I joined the senior school, someone I would call ‘a friend’ by the time I turned 18); Mrs Wright (no relation) – just a fab geography teacher and lovely person; and who can forget Mr Wood (not a teacher but a fish merchant (!) and rugby coach to the U16s for so many years) - his pre-match warm ups and team talks were legendary, as well as his distinct smell - I think it put some of us off wanting to work in the fish industry but we would follow and do whatever else he said and accepted the smell was his occupational hazard!
Over the years, Nick has kept regular contact with a few of his fellow classmates, albeit they now live in different locations of the country:
My oldest school pals are Rob DeMain (Toes) and Alexander Hall (Hally) who I met on day one in the junior school! And Andrew Forgham (Foggi) and Matthew Gravelle (Grav) who joined in the senior school – clearly, I had to be mates with ‘Grav’ to get anywhere near a pass in A level Business Studies (some will remember Grav’s father, Mr Gravelle, headed up the department for many years).
There’s also now a few who live more locally to me, and I see from time to time through our own children’s activities/education, and as such have become closer friends since leaving school.
To be honest, not a year goes by when you don’t bump in to an OH - there’s always that immediate bond and connection.
Nick has many fond memories of his school days:
There are so many - it’s a cliché but my school's days as a whole were truly some of the best days of my life. That’s despite academically under-achieving or perhaps just not being particularly gifted! The teachers may be able to tell you more! But if pushed I'd say in no particular order:
- the friendships – actually, that’s number 1.
- the ski trips - they were hilarious!
- the 1st & 2nd XV rugby tour to Toronto, Canada. I believe we were the first team to travel abroad for a rugby tour, or the first time in a very long time.
- the fact Hymers is unique – an amazing educational facility in the heart of a big northern city. There’s not many of those around and I truly believe this is a major factor in turning out extremely well-rounded individuals ready to take on the next phase of education, the workplace, or whatever else life throws at them.
After leaving Hymers, Nick went to Nottingham Trent University to study Estate Surveying, a four-year course, which included a placement year working in Sheffield and Leeds, which counted towards the experience he needed to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor (general practice).
After graduating I took a gap year backpacking around the world, setting off with a best friend from Uni, a former St Peter’s, York boy (but don’t hold that against him). We visited and met some amazing places and people. It was a life experience I will never forget.
On returning from traveling, Nick started his working career:
I was lucky enough to be re-employed for the same company I worked for as part of my university course but this time on the graduate programme in Leeds. The following year I was poached by a larger firm where I passed my professional exams and qualified as a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2002.
In 2004, I returned to Hull and joined my family business, The Wright Group of Companies, a long established local construction, house building, joinery and property development company whose most notable projects will probably be the relocation of Hull KR rugby league club’s Craven Park ground from Holderness Road to New Craven Park at Preston Road, and the redevelopment of the Needlers Sweet factory on Sculcoates Lane in to a modern contemporary housing estate.
During this time (late 2004), I was also fortunate to fulfil a lifelong ambition of another passion, sailing across the Atlantic in the Global Challenge yacht race, competing in leg one, racing from Portsmouth (UK) to Buenos Ares (Argentina) against 12 other 72ft yachts as part of a crew of 18. We finished 2nd overall, by 15 minutes, after 32 days at sea and covering over 6000 miles. Sailing is an incredible sport in which to forge strong teamwork and it’s great to see one of the old Challenge yachts (“CatZero”) now berthed in Hull Marina doing just that for local community projects.
I lastly worked at the Wright Group with my (late) father and brother until 2009 when the business fell victim to the worldwide financial crash after 110 years of trading, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The following period was very difficult for the whole family as we each tried to re-establish ourselves personally and professionally. It took time to re-adjust but my father and brother began house building again in the area (North Bar Homes), and I moved back to the Leeds area to set up a property consultancy business with a fellow employee of the Company. Pleasingly, we all continued to work with many of the same people and companies who worked with the family business - we are hugely grateful for this support. With hard work, determination and a can-do attitude we all managed to set up our own new businesses which at times, certainly during the early stages, hung in the balance - I am immensely proud of it. You learn a lot more from failure than you do from success.
After seven years of consultancy work and acting for large corporate business, I decided it was time to get back to building, left the consultancy business and founded Kyme Homes, with the same former St Peter’s pupil I went travelling with 24 years ago, who by this time was a vastly experienced and highly qualified construction project manager, so the disciplines we possess complement each other really well. We’ve been going 7 years and develop mainly new build family homes in the North Leeds, York and Harrogate area, so not directly competing with my brother over in East Yorkshire.
Good luck Nick with your future duathlon training!
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