Jamie Marshall, site manager at Sherwood, is a bona fide veteran at Go Ape, having worked here since day one (a staggering 12 years ago! #WeFeelOld). This month, we talk to him about how the confines of brick walls just aren’t for him, and how he recently sent an inflatable banana attached to a monkey into space (yes – really)…
What made you join the Go Ape family?
Prior to Go Ape I was a techie, working in a design and development job within factories. But working indoors just didn’t work for me! I’d always been involved in outdoor activities; from the age of five or six my Dad would take me out climbing and sailing, and I got the bug. In my spare time I was an activity instructor at Nottingham City Council. Really, I did this to keep me sane and happy, even though it wasn’t bringing in any money! I was paying the bills with my main job, but I really didn’t enjoy it. So when I found out they were building Go Ape sites I immediately got in touch – it meant I could have the best of both worlds!
Did you experience Go Ape for yourself before taking the job?
Because it was just being built, it wasn’t possible. However, I had done plenty of rock climbing and so wasn’t afraid of heights, and I loved the whole concept.
What do you love most about working for Go Ape?
It has to be the variety of customers. From school children and families to hen and stag parties, no two days (or customers) are the same. There’s no such thing as a “regular day” at Go Ape – and it certainly keeps us on our toes! It’s so satisfying seeing them master the high ropes and seeing the smiles on their faces. I also love working within this amazing forest and all the fresh air I get. Although summer days can be very long, the benefits of working here always outweigh the negatives by about a million times.
I’m also a big fan of the company’s ethos – this is probably part of the reason I’ve been here for so long. They believe we should work hard and play hard and “live life adventurously”; and they really do practise what they preach. I really love and respect the values of Go Ape and their optimistic and adventurous attitude.
Finally, tell us a story that will put a smile on our faces?
Our ‘Big Banana Relay’ has recently come to an end – Go Ape raised £60,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust by transporting an inflatable banana across the country to 28 forest locations. We decided to take it one step further here at Sherwood and it certainly put a smile on my face… we sent our inflatable yellow friend up to space using a massive helium weather balloon! The pictures were incredible, right from the edge of the earth’s atmosphere. That banana has certainly captured Go Ape’s spirit and really knows how to live life adventurously!