Society Diary interviews... Chris Sherwood

29 Sep 2023 Interviews

Civil Society's satirical columnist asks the CEO of RSPCA the important questions others have been too afraid to ask... Like, what is your favourite cheese? And how hot do you go at Nando's?

Chris Sherwood, CEO of RSPCA and NCVO trustee


Diary comes to you this week with something different: its first ever interview.

Granted, Diary’s supreme leaders at Civil Society Towers regularly interview charity CEOs but they repeatedly fail to ask the really important questions, like what is the interviewee’s favourite cheese and most hated vegetable?

Luckily for you, this columnist has swept in to rectify this.

First in the firing line is the chief executive of RSPCA, Chris Sherwood, who happily agreed to answer Diary’s questions for some reason. Read our exchange below. 

How are you?

“I am feeling good but a little tired, I am travelling back from speaking at Age UK’s local partner conference in Manchester. It involved a 5am start to get there but it was so good to spend time with the Age UK team talking about the importance of federated charities and I am now nicely fortified with a KitKat to answer your questions.” 

What’s your favourite cheese?

“I am rather a fan of cambozola, which goes well with an oat cake – it is a nice alternative to a cheddar for those who don’t quite enjoy the stronger blue cheeses.” 

Have you ever been starstruck?

“I am a huge fan of the Bridget Jones’s Diary series and got to meet the author Helen Fielding, who very rarely does interviews, when I worked for the relationship charity Relate. It was a herculean effort not to turn around and say: ‘Oh my goodness I absolutely love you and will you sign a copy of my book?’”

When did you last speak to a stranger?

“I missed my train at Manchester Piccadilly Station – I had power walked from Age UK’s conference to the station but just missed my train. Clearly, the sight of me looking hot and flustered meant Frazer who worked for the station felt sorry for me as he only charged me a small excess fee rather than a full new train ticket to get back home.” 

Least favourite vegetable?

“I cannot stand butternut squash. I had food poisoning once from a meal that involved butternut squash and have not been able to eat it since.”  

Which film have you watched the most times?

“I have watched the Life of Brian more times than I care to mention. No one will watch it with me now because I know the script off by heart and can’t resist the urge to join in. He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.”

How hot do you go at Nando’s?

“Yeah, I don’t think you will find me in a Nando’s anytime soon. I am partial however to adding some extra chillies to a nice Thai tofu green curry.” 

What song cheers you up the most?

“I love karaoke even though I cannot sing. If I am feeling brave, I will opt for Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey or Maybe This Time by Liza Minnelli from Cabaret.” 

Beach holiday or city break?

“A city break definitely – redheads and beach holidays do not make for a good mix from my experience. The last time I was on a beach I was covered in towels and hiding under an umbrella whilst liberally applying factor 50 every half an hour.” 

Cats or dogs?

“I am afraid it is cats for me – my 14-year-old RSPCA rescue cat Marmalade would never forgive me if I opted for dogs.” 

Now you've all been blown away by these excellent interview skills, please do volunteer if you would like to be next ([email protected]). If not, Diary will pluck someone at random...

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