>>photo of Richard Stoddart (bottom left). David Dunn has his hand on the ball while Gareth Seddon is the left of the goalkeeper<<

At the age of 16 Richard Stoddart had the world at his feet. 

The youngster was playing for Blackburn Rovers’ Academy team – the club he’s supported all his life.

His team-mates included David Dunn, who went on to play 300 games for the first team, and Gareth Seddon, who went on to play for several lower league clubs.

However Richard’s boyhood dreams disappeared when Rovers let him go.

“School never really interested me because I was so obsessed with football,” he recalled. ‘When I got released by Rovers I didn’t want to keep chasing the dream but I have no regrets.”

Richard went to university and got a degree in business before landing a job as a trainee mortgage advisor – but quickly realised it wasn’t the job for him.

His career took him to Blackburn with Darwen Council, where he had the first of two lucky breaks.

The first was meeting work colleague Marc Schmid and the second was being tasked with selling outdoor advertising.

“I was selling advertising space on everything from bus shelters to street signs,” he said. “I absolutely loved selling and something came alive in me. We generated £300,000 for the council and this helped pay for our department.”

Marc left soon afterwards to set up Redmoor Health and Richard joined him on April 1st, 2018 as business director.

“Marc has a million and one ideas and my job is to put them down on paper and grow the business,” he said.

“The thing about working for Redmoor Health is you realise what a positive difference we’re making to people’s lives.

“Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology. All GP practices are now using video consultations for examples.”

Richard turned 40 during the lockdown and described his birthday celebrations as ‘low key’.

“I’m not complaining but I was moving house at the time of the lockdown so everything was put on hold,” he said. “It meant I was either staying at my brother’s or my parents’ house. On the night of my 40th birthday I had a quiet beer at my mum and dad’s. It was memorable but not for the reasons I expected.”

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