Scallop “Campion” and so much more

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When one thinks of scallop week in Rye one thinks of Olly Campion. One local entrepreneur described Olly as, “a true son of the town of Rye. From publishing the town map to being the driving force behind scallop week, he is all about promoting Rye and all its businesses.”

Olly plays an important part in Rye Chamber of Commerce and when asked to sum up Olly this is what they said: “Olly is one of the good guys. A wealth of local information and contacts, and one of the most resourceful individuals in our fabulous chamber community.”

So what makes Olly tick?

Where did you grow up?
In Rye. I was born in the Buchanan Hospital, Hastings, which was the closest hospital back then. My mum grew up in St Mary’s Bay, my dad lived in Wittersham and my parents met in Rye.

When you left school what did you want to do?
IT. Always IT. I loved it from the age of seven, the moment I walked into the computer room at school I just knew that it was what I wanted to do; I absolutely adored it. My mum got me a BBC Micro at home and since then I have devoted my life to programming. I couldn’t learn anything online as that wasn’t available back then. I basically learnt by trying things out.

I went to university and studied computer science, there were eight parts of the course and I particularly loved how to script HTML. One of the other units was on UNIX which was super fun for me but after six months that was removed. The parts of the course I loved were no longer available. I decided to use the facilities at the University of Kent to learn what I wanted to learn which was essentially how to administer servers, build PCs and web sites; I then left after the first year.

What three words describe you best?
Patient, approachable, and hard-working.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Line your ducks up. A friend of mine, Victor Herbert, told me to line my ducks up and it has proved to be the best advice one can have.

What traits have you instilled in your children?
Everything starts with honesty and that’s not always easy with teenagers. We try to make sure that the children aren’t fussy. We want them to have a go at least once at new things.

Olly Campion

If you could sit on a bench and have a conversation with someone for one hour, who would you chose?
Steve Jobs. There was a really good speech that he did to the students of Stanford before he died and he describes how he got into computing and how you can only join the dots backwards in your life, you can’t join them forward. When he was at university he also dropped out which rang bells for me. He decided to jump into a calligraphy course which he hadn’t signed up for. He just loved it but didn’t know what significance it would have later in his life. Years later he was designing the Apple Mac and it is the first ever operating system with proportional fonts.

Have you got a favourite place?
Yes, up in the mountains in Morzine and Avoriaz. Morzine is like Rye but in a valley. If you haven’t been you should go.

Have you anything left on your bucket list?
I think everyone should have a full bucket of things to achieve or do! Mine are mostly travel related. I want to visit Canada and Japan, go on a Caribbean cruise and take a road trip around Italy which would instantly activate other bucket list items like snowboarding Whistler or trying sushi in Japan.

Did you start scallop week?
No, it was Kate Roy I believe. Lorna Hall took over from her and was an absolute powerhouse, getting things done. She had to stop and it was taken over by “Jolly” Roger Crouch of Hastings Pirate Day. I had been in the background helping to design the website and marketing materials so when the money ran out I didn’t want it to just disappear, so I stepped forward to take over.

With a zero budget I knew scallop week had to wash it’s face or my efforts would be in vain. So I came up with a plan to allow the week to exist with minimal private investment from restaurants. I also really wanted the week to be more than restaurants serving scallops so each year I encourage venues to organise as many live music events as possible.

For more information about this year’s delicious scallop dishes and all the live music visit https://scallop.org.uk.

Image Credits: Kt bruce .

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3 COMMENTS

  1. A lovely guy who cares passionately about Rye. His attention into organising scallop week is exceptional and the town buzzes from the exposure that it generates. For businesses, especially the restaurants and bars that serve food, participation is a no-brainer. I can’t wait for the week to begin!

    • This year, in particular, the buzz surrounding Scallop Week seems to have strengthened and spread far beyond the parish boundaries! Olly has done an excellent job getting the word out, and restaurants all over this part of Sussex seem to be offering scallop delicacies—I only hope that they all pitch in their support when Olly needs help with print or internet advertising…

  2. I’ve known Olly since he was playing around with his first computer aged seven(ish) – he is a legend. And a future Mayor of Rye – this article should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is an incredible force of nature who has always been a champion of Rye!!

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