Wednesday, 18 June 2014

BERNARD Critchley has lived in Crewkerne for the last four years after living and working in Norwich and coming back to the West Country with his two sons, Arthur and Matthew. Bernard has spent over 30 years working as a tax specialist with various accountancy firms but now works for Tax Help UK - a charity set up to help the elderly – based at the Pineapple Business Park in Salwayash, Bridport.

YOU are currently working for Tax Help for the Elderly UK. What inspired you to do that job?
I joined Tax Help to be able to use my knowledge and experience to help people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay for professional help.

YOU were granted the Freedom of the City of London... how did that come about?
I became a member of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers in 2002 (a City of London Livery Company) and as a result, in 2003, I was able to apply for Freedom of the City of London. It doesn’t unfortunately give me the right to drive sheep and cattle over London Bridge or to carry a naked sword in public as is generally believed. However, I have twice taken part in the Lord Mayor’s Show, where we dressed up to represent taxes through the ages. I dressed as entertainment tax and juggled along the length of the procession.

I UNDERSTAND you enjoy magic and performing tricks, could you tell me a bit about that?
I did a circus skills evening class in the 1990s and learnt how to juggle.  I can juggle four balls, or three clubs/rings and I can also walk a tightrope. I have been doing little magic tricks since I was a child and used to entertain my own children with some tricks.  When I started lecturing in tax for professionals I also used magic tricks to illustrate my talks.

DO you have any other hidden skills, interests or hobbies?
I am a qualified cricket umpire and travel around Somerset, Wiltshire, Bristol and Gloucestershire during the summer months. I collect political autographs and have 15 US presidents, 11 US Vice-Presidents and every British Prime Minister since 1900 in the collection. I also collect cricket memorabilia.

IF you won the Lottery, what would you do?
I would give 10 per cent to charity, pay off my debts, give some money to my children to help set them up and complete my set of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack (a cricket reference book) from 1864 to date as I still need a further 91 copies.

WHICH three people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Thomas Jefferson as he is by far the brightest politician ever to be President of USA. Dylan Thomas who turned writing in the English language to an art form not seen in the 20th Century with the possible exception of TS Eliot. Eric Morecombe as he could see the funny side to anything and could liven up any dull part of the evening.

IF you could live you life again, what would you be?
If I had my life again I would like to have been either a maths teacher or an actor.

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