The Neville Effect
In a rare couple interview, Liz caught up with Emma and Gary to find out more...
The fundraising event I am planning on September 27, 2018, is partly in aid of Child Bereavement UK. Why is this charity so dear to you?
Emma: The charity is close to my heart. The services and teams at Child Bereavement UK are truly amazing in the exceptional and skilled way that they help the families that they support.
The charity works with a family to find a purpose in their lives again, after the loss of a family member and offers support to these families at a time when they feel that they cannot go on any more. It’s just incredible.
How did you get involved? What is your role?
Emma: I first heard about CBUK at a charity lunch you planned at the Hilton Deansgate Manchester Hotel. I bought a table, Gary
Barlow was the guest, and I am a huge Take That fan! I always wanted to be involved in supporting a charity and having heard about the work that the charity does; I felt this could be the one for me.
I got chatting with Ann Chalmers, the charity CEO, and knew that I wanted to get more involved. I am now a volunteer for the family support group at the charity’s Runcorn Centre.
Where will the money go that is raised?
Emma: Money raised from the fundraising event will go towards supporting the work of CBUK in the north-west, and in addition, support a number of small, local charities through the Red Sea Pedestrians charity.
The couple - rarely do interviews, so I am honoured to get the husband and wife team together.
How did you meet?
Gary: We met at the Sugar Lounge bar at Deansgate Locks in 2004. I was out with friends and got chatting to Emma. The rest is history!
How long have you been together?
Gary: We have been together 14 years now. We have lasted a lot longer than the Sugar Lounge did!
What are your tips for a happy marriage?
Emma: Date night is crucial! Make sure you plan a night out, just the two of you, to chat without the children being there. Our kids have transformed our lives, and we love spending time with them, but it’s also important to have some time as a couple. We have busy lives, so taking the time just to be together is very important.
Who’s the most romantic?
Gary: well, it might be me!
How do you support each other in your careers?
Emma: we are a team. Gary and I realise that life is busy. Gary works extremely hard, and this has always been the case. In whatever he does, he puts in 110%. We make sure that we have family time at weekends with our girls and try to at least once a month have a meal out - just the two of us. Likewise, Gary is hugely supportive of whatever I set my mind to.
Gary: Emma is an incredible wife and mother, supports everything that I do and also has her own ambitions. Her work with CBUK has been inspiring. I was only too happy to support her by getting involved in the fundraising event - as a host for the evening! No pressure then!
Where do you currently call home?
We live in Bolton and have two girls, Molly aged 9 and Sophie aged 8.
What makes the area special to them?
Gary: I’m from Bury originally and since we met, we have lived in the Bolton area. We did have a spell of living in central Manchester, before the children were born, but moved back to Bolton so we could be closer to our family. Family is important to both Emma and I, so it was a natural move for us.
Emma: Gary has an office in Manchester and is there most days, and so we are both in and out of central Manchester on a weekly basis. We love our city! Manchester has a strength and personality that is unique.
Emma: We love eating out! El Gato Negro in Manchester, Nutters restaurant, and a family favourite is Puccinis in Swinton.
Things to do as a couple/family?
Gary: You may have realised by now that we eat out often and are real foodies! As a family, we love watching sports, and we all go to watch Salford City as often as possible. Keeping fit and being active is also very important. Both our girls play netball at weekends, which keeps them busy.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Gary: Megève in France for the skiing. We all love Deia Mallorca for the tranquillity and great food.
Emma: Bali - the incredible people, make it so special.
What are the couple up to next / moving forwards? UA92?
Emma: Gary is super busy getting the university (University Academy 92, offering sport, business and psychology degrees) started and his many business projects in the city. I’m looking forward to starting my studies in level 4 counselling and continuing to support CBUK.
I suppose we cannot complete this interview without a cheeky prediction for the start of the next Prem season from both of them.
Emma: We are both Manchester United fans and hope it’s an excellent season for them.
Beyond that – we would hate to predict anything. Football can be an exhilarating, beautiful, but notoriously unpredictable game!
The CBUK/Red Sea Pedestrians fundraising event takes place on September 27, 2018, at Victoria Warehouse. Tables of 10: £5 000.