Bookie Andy’s favourite year
“IT has been a crazy year,” said Andy Bennett this week, reflecting on his 12 months in the limelight as Britain’s best bookie.
The likeable 34-year-old has picked winners live on national TV, visited the world’s richest racecourse, has been asked for a photo by an Olympic champion, and has also raised thousands of pounds for charity.
“I really don’t know how I fitted it all in, but it was a fantastic experience,” the manager of Selkirk’s Scotbet branch told The Wee Paper.
It was back in November 2011 that Andy, having already been named Scottish betting shop manager of the year, claimed the UK title at a ceremony in London’s posh Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel.
Two weeks later, Andy was travelling to Ascot with his fellow Scotbet shop workers and some close friends for a VIP day out at the famous Berkshire course.
After a trip to Wimbledon dogs, Andy’s next destination was closer to home as he began his fundraising exploits for 2012.
With Kelso Racecourse allowing him and 100 punters from the shop free entry to a meeting in March, while Scotbet paid for the buses, Andy collected £1,000 in donations for the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Borders General Hospital – the facility that looked after his and partner Tracy’s six-year-old son Kris when he was born.
And Andy would defy a fear of heights to take part in a charity skydive in September, raising a total of £3,000 for SCBU from the two events.
He told us: “When I handed over the first cheque I got a thank you letter from the unit, but we did not really know how the money would be spent.
“However, when I presented the second cheque, I got another letter telling me that the cash raised had helped them buy a hot cot for the unit.
“I almost cried when I was told that. It was the highlight of my year to think that we had helped people who were going through the same situation myself, Tracy and Kris did.”
In the same month, a VIP trip with Tracy and Kris to mega-rich Dubai for its Racing Carnival was described as “the most spectacular course on the planet” by Andy, who in April would correctly tip Merigo for a Scottish National victory on Channel 4’s The Morning Line.
Throughout the year, he also wrote a weekly blog for the Racing Post, with his column proving so popular that he is now contributing to another racing website as a guest writer.
But for surreal moment of 2012, it had to be his October visit to Doncaster Racecourse for the semi-finals of this year’s British bookie of the year.
“I took part in a tipping competition with the world’s best tipster Tom Segal and somehow I managed to claim the contest, with my prize being an iPad presented by Tom, which was incredible.
“There was a real mix of well known people and Luke Campbell, the Olympic boxing gold medallist from last year’s London Games, came up to me and asked for a photo together.
“It was a bizarre moment in a fantastic year.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South