It was a pleasure to meet Dom outside the Radio studio and get to understand what makes him tick, what makes him happy, and what he considers a real adventure. It was a fascinating interview in which I learnt that Dom spends his time essentially helping other people. I know he has done just that for over 16 years as a BBC Radio Kent presenter and this is such an amazing achievement in itself. I know from personal experience that the people ofKent couldn’t be without him for that drive home and the evening session of conversation and debate. But, when Dom puts down the ear phones and leaves the studio, I wanted to find out what fills his free time and helps him relax.
Dom talks passionately about everything he gets involved with and I believe that is because he has selected pastimes that help people and issues he cares about, no time wasting for this man – he is always up to something.
Dom is an ‘Honorary Crew Member’ of the RNLI now but was until recently an active Shore Crew member, responding to emergency calls, sometimes at 2am in the morning,
to help get the boat ready at Littlestone-on-Sea Lifeboat Station. He sometimes drove the tractor into the sea to launch the boat and recalls watching the waves sweep over and the boat disappearing into the dark. He says that those deep, black surroundings make you appreciate just how fragile
life is and how intense and brutal mother nature can be. His father was
a seaman from the age of 14 so Dom was brought up knowing that one must always respect the water – sadly his father never knew that Dom returned
to the family roots to help at the RNLI, but I sense he would have been immensely proud.
Dom has recently accepted the position as the first ever Ambassador of the Kent Scouts. When I cast my mind back to the Scouts I am ashamed to say I think of the ‘Bob-a-job’ or ‘Dib, dib, dob, dob’ but as I talk about this now with Dom it becomes so very clear this is no longer even a consideration of the Scouting movement today.
We laughed at how times had changed, that the clichés I mentioned were in our era and that the Scouts now were about finding a balance; finding the opportunities to create an adventure within reality. Dom tells me that young people have the answers, they know what needs to be addressed and done in today’s world – by putting groups of people of all ages within the Scouting family together, they bring that vision to life. Respect is a small word with a huge meaning and I could feel the respect Dom has for both the Scouting organisation and the people involved. 22,000 people in Kent take part in the Scouts; that is the 2nd biggest group behind Hampshire in the country – over 5,000 of whom are Kent adult volunteers allowing it to thrive and grow into the future.
The Scouts pride themselves on developing the organisation to allow people to explore different things, to really get under the skin of ‘what next’ and to re-embrace the word adventure – not so it needs to be big, or dangerous but just different and allowing people to try new things and grow whilst they do.
Dom recalls the trips he has taken within his extensive media career so far, including to Afghanistan and Southern Sudan and although they were adventures, the excitement of his Sunday afternoon making jam for the first time shouldn’t be dismissed
as foolish. We live in a world where we can see endless footage of ‘adventures’ and ‘exciting’ things and as a result we have lost the ability to just enjoy the simpler, yet just as challenging, moments. Achievements should be embraced, not overlooked. Scouting is about supporting young people to engage with life – all of life, no matter how simple it might be but to learn new things, embrace change, not be worried about expressing enjoyment for things. It occurred to me that the Scouts is almost a large mentoring programme and I’m sad I have missed out – it is not in a village hall one evening a week anymore and I should have known that.
When Dom does stop, he relaxes with his wife Amanda by walking across Romney Marsh. He loves the time taken to wind down, and considers himself very lucky to be able to walk through what he calls the “Calendar of life”. I loved that description of walking the same walk throughout the changing seasons, to contemplate life as it slowly moves on. In today’s fast-paced, hectic world I felt almost envious listening to Dom explain the relaxing element of taking time out, time away from the studio. Just time, with loved ones to contemplate… however I have a feeling when Dom is contemplating, he is only really thinking about his next adventure, however small or big that might end up being!
Dominic King presents Drive on BBC Radio Kent weeknights from 4 pm and King & Company on Sunday at 2pm.