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Meet the BNJC team: Ashley Woolfe, Events and Conferencing Executive

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Ashley Woolfe
12 January 2021

Meet the team: Ashley Woolfe

Meet our Events and Conferencing Executive, Ashley Woolfe. Before joining BNJC to help develop our events programme, Ashley ran his own sports management and events company for over 25 years. We asked Ashley about his role at BNJC and his hopes for sport in 2021.
Tell us about yourself and your role at BNJC
Born and bred in Hove, I enjoyed my schooling first at St Christopher’s (located right next door to the BNJC site) and then at Brighton College before moving away to study and have a family. I returned to Brighton nine years ago, and now live with my children, my fiancé, her son and our two dogs!
My role as Events and Conferencing Executive draws on my experience of running events in the sports and entertainment industry, and I plan to help deliver a rich and diverse programme. When BNJC opens in 2022, we’re hoping to have a full programme of speaker events, shows, film screenings, fitness classes, social activities, card clubs, youth activities – just to name a few.

How have you been keeping fit during lockdown?
In ordinary times, you would have seen me on the seafront most early mornings working out with my friends from Brighton Outdoor Fitness. Currently though, classes have to be done online at home, plus I’ve been doing a fair bit of cycling on the exercise bike too. I’m finding that keeping up with the exercise is helping me get through these extraordinary times.

How has Covid-19 changed sport for you?

It’s been a weird year for sport and for sports fans (and for everybody, of course). Personally, I’ve loved the fact that elite sport has made its way back onto our screens. However, I don’t find myself either being drawn to it as much, or dare I say it, enjoying it as much without the atmosphere created by having a crowd present.

What’s your favourite Seagulls memory?
We recently interviewed Israeli international footballer Tomer Hemed (as part of our virtual Chanukah party). Tomer was part of the incredible Seagulls (Brighton & Hove Albion) campaign that saw us promoted to the Premier League. Listening to him brought back some wonderful memories of matches at the Amex and an away game at Brentford in 2016 where he scored a last-minute equaliser. I also have fond memories of that amazing day when the whole of Brighton & Hove celebrated with the promotion parade.

What are your hopes for sport in 2021?
Consistent with all these memories is the crowd. The noise, the energy, the adrenalin, the sharing a moment with somebody… I really hope it’s not too long before we can get back to those times – safely. My guess is that sports professionals are missing it too. Teams can definitely find an extra 10% when they are playing at home with their crowd willing them on. My hope is that, vaccine permitting, we’ll welcome back crowds sometime this Spring/Summer and back to some of those ‘were you there?’ moments, when hopefully the answer can be ‘yes’.

What are you most excited about BNJC opening in 2022?
I can’t wait to help create a thriving Jewish community in Brighton. Anyone that has spoken to me about BNJC, will have heard me reminisce about my childhood here and the buzz the community used to have. We’d spend several nights a week at Ralli Hall for discos, JLGB, BBYO and seeing packed synagogues during the High Holidays. I remember times when we would have Jewish Golf Society days and if you weren’t quick with your registration you would miss out, because the club couldn’t take more than 36 players. To have that opportunity to create something like that, with the added bonus of a superb restaurant on site too, is very exciting!