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Meet the Team

MEET THE TEAM

MANAGEMENT
PATRICK ARNOLD

Managing Director

I play cricket for my village Eynsham, and for Oxfordshire Over 50’s. I also play hockey for Oxford Hawks (previously Wimbledon). I have always loved sports and used to organise all the club tours at university. When I started working for HSBC in London I got into watching England cricket overseas and was there when the Barmy Army launched in 1994/5. Following further trips to South Africa and the West Indies I then got to play cricket in South Africa for my club and Croatia and Austria with the MCC. This experience pushed me toward starting Living With The Lions in 2001 and well, here we are today! What makes us different? We are still just a small team but every person here loves the sports that we follow and adds their own personality and enthusiasm to each trip that we run. I have been married to Sarah for 17 years and we have three sports fans, Freddie, Hana and Eve.

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JOANNA MOWATT

Clubs and Schools Operations Manager

Throughout my career and education to date, sport has always played a major role. I joined Living With The Lions after 8 years’ service with Gullivers Sports Travel within their worldwide schools and clubs department. I have always been involved in sport, enjoying gymnastics and hockey in my early years, which I later put to good use whilst employed as a Lecturer of Sports Science in Gloucestershire. These days, although I am still an avid follower of sport, I am more of a participant of the arts with dance and music being keen interests. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to a number of great destinations during my years in the travel industry, with South Africa, Australia and the Caribbean being some of my favourite destinations. I have also been lucky enough to Tour Lead Supporters Tours overseas which include the British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand 2005 and Cricket World Cup to the West Indies in 2007.

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GAIL GIBSON

Supporters Tours Operations Manager

I have been involved in Travel for quite some years now. After studying languages (French, German & Italian) at Leicester University, my first job took me out to the French Alps as a chalet girl. 3 winter seasons, two summers in Turkey and a season of walking tours in Italy later, I set up a small ski chalet business in Les Deux Alpes where I lived for 4 years. I then moved back to England to work in Reader Offer Travel, then more recently for another Sports Tours Operator as Operations Manager for their Clubs & Schools department. My work has taken me to some lovely parts of the world including South Africa, Namibia, New Zealand, South America & the Caribbean. Italy though is one of my favourite destinations! In 2014 I took a self-imposed and hard earned 6 month break, then joined LWTL initially to work on Incoming groups for the RWC in 2015. I now work exclusively on the Supporters Tours which included the Lions to New Zealand in 2017, and going forward events such as Six Nations games, Hong Kong Sevens, the England tour to South Africa and England Cricket Tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies. I have played Tennis since I was 4 and have skied extensively; I really enjoy watching England play rugby and cricket, and in recent years, I have spent endless hours watching my daughter play cricket professionally for her regional team Western Storm and in the Hundred for London Spirit.

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SUPPORTERS TOURS
CRAIG WEGRZYN

Supporters Tours Sales Manager

Prior to joining LWTL I had a somewhat mixed career history starting in International team operations for the Football Association, followed by moving on to supporter tours and events for the Mike Burton Group. In my time there I was involved in all 6 Nations and Autumn International tours and events as well as leading a tour at the 2011 Rugby World Cup to New Zealand. For the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour I managed corporate hospitality events and match day supporter for Lions Rugby Travel. I joined LWTL 3 years ago after a year out in Australia where I took full advantage of the relaxed beach lifestyle in between coaching and playing football. With LWTL I have been involved in all cricket and rugby tours with both the 2017 Lions Tour and the 2017 Ashes Series being a highlight.

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MIKE PYRGOS

Supporters Tours Sales

I was a teacher for 37 years and taught at Bryanston School in Dorset for the last 30 of those where I was Director of Rugby and Head of Economics as well as being Senior Teacher. Whilst teaching I ran over 30 school tours and I hope I can bring some of that experience to LWTL. I was a tour manager (during a sabatical from school) on the 2013 Lions Toour of Australia and I stayed on afterwards because LWTL had organised an excellent Rugby Tour for my school following the Lions Tour. I work in both the schools and supporters departments at LWTL and am putting my experience of extensive touring to the test in both departments. I played rugby for Harlequins and my son, Henry, is the Glasgow Warriors and Scotland scrum half and he captained Scotland during the 2015 World Cup, my daughter Alice also plays hockey for England. I love all sports and am an ardent Tottenham Hotspur supporter. I am lucky enough to have hosted LWTL’s British & Irish Lions Tours in 2013 and 2017, rugby tours to Italy and Scotland and cricket supporters tours to the West Indies and the Ashes in Australia.

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SAM JONES

Marketing Executive

My love of sport lead me to study Sports Business Management at university which I completed in summer 2022.  It covered all areas of sports marketing and management, and it gave me a fantastic insight into many areas of the sporting world. I come from a family that lives and breathes sport growing up playing vast amounts of cricket for my home club in Lincolnshire Louth CC. I have been a keen follower of Sussex CCC as long as I can remember and love supporting England particularly in Test cricket. I was lucky enough to be put forward to become a member of the MCC by my father at 16 and fortunately got my associate membership through in 2021; although don’t become a full member until 2044! Along with cricket I also regularly play tennis, hockey, squash, golf and more recently padel. I first encountered Living With The Lions as a 19 year old away on a trip to Barbados to watch England play a test match against the West Indies. It was a hugely memorable trip, the highlight of which was spending an evening with England legend Darren Gough regaling us with his tales of playing for Yorkshire and England. As a family we have travelled extensively and between school and university I went travelling to Australia and New Zealand both of which I loved.

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PAIGE FARRIES

Event Operations Assistant

Sport has basically dictated every moment of my life since birth. I played several sports growing up: lacrosse, archery, dance, basketball, but none captured my heart like rugby. I am currently a member of the Canadian Rugby Team and the Worcester Warriors Women’s team. I am very lucky to have travelled the world through sport. Destinations topping the list would have to be New Zealand and Fiji, but I will never forget the feeling of running out in a deafening Hong Kong Stadium. I am a proud Canadian and have the maple syrup obsession to back it up, but I have called the West Midlands my home since 2020. I’ve joined LWTL after 2 years working exclusively as a rugby player.

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JESS PITT

Event Operations Assistant

I was born in the UK but was lucky enough to move to Australia at a young age and as a result, now have dual citizenship. I lived in Sydney for five years and during this time I developed a love for horse riding. It started off as just a hobby but soon became my whole world and I took it up competitively. I joined the local Pony Club and represented them in many competitions. As well as this, when I joined secondary school, I was fortunate enough to join the school Equestrian Team which enabled me to represent them in competitions all over NSW. I have travelled extensively throughout my childhood, going to some amazing countries like Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York. Australia and Thailand were definitely at the top of the list for me and my love for travel is what drew me to LWTL. I am from a very sport-orientated family, particularly rugby, which has meant that I have had the opportunity to attend some amazing games like the British & Irish Lions, the Autumn Internationals and the Guinness Six Nations.

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SCHOOL TOURS
CARRIE ROBERTS

Sales & Senior Tour Coordinator

I’m a born and bred South African with a passion for travel and sport and have happily carved a 18 year career in the Sports Travel industry. I studied Marketing and Advertising and Business Finance at the University of Natal in South Africa, followed by travel abroad before commencing my career as a Tour Operator. My jobs, having worked at Bundu Bashers Travel in South Africa for ten years, followed by Edwin Doran Sports Tours for three years and LWTL for five years, have allowed me to combine my interests and I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world, exploring countries such as Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and the USA. I love all sports (I play most racquet sports and have completed 2 Half Marathons) and supporting rugby and cricket are definitely high on the list. I am based in Ely, Cambridgeshire – where I represent LWTL in the East Anglia region in both Sales and Operations.

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ROB DICKSON

Club & Schools Tours Sales

Born in Lancashire but raised in Gloucestershire, sport has been a huge part of my life to date. The travel bug then started in 2005 when I decided last minute to follow the British Lions tour to New Zealand. It was an incredible experience and something I was keen to repeat. I completed my degree and was then committed to seeing more of the world. After saving for 12 months which involved a 12 hour shift working alone on Christmas day, I left the UK in Sept 2007 on a flight bound for New York. I worked my way across the states to LA, onto Fiji, New Zealand and then onto Australia where I saw in the New Year and eventually stayed for 6 months, working in both Sydney and Perth. I then made the long journey home via Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. On my return I started work for PGL travel which was great fun but my heart was set on sports travel. After 4 years, I joined Gullivers Sports Travel and have had the opportunity to experience some once in a lifetime events such as New Year in Cape Town with the Barmy Army to a World Cup Football Semi Final in Moscow. I have been extremely fortunate to have experienced some amazing destinations and cultures and I now enjoy sharing my experiences with groups looking to take their team overseas. What attracted me to Living With The Lions is the personal approach and attention to detail they provide that is missing in a large corporate business. There is not a high turnover of staff so our customers know exactly what they are getting and really buy into the LWTL family ethos..

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ANTHEA BARRINGTON

Club & Schools Tours Sales

I am back to my old stomping ground having stepped away from LWTL during Covid times which was not easy time for the travel industry. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Hockey Wales team, managing the Senior and Pathway activity. During my time I have learnt a lot more about sport, as well as developing as a person both in the office but on the pitch having been selected to represent the O35s Welsh Hockey Masters team. It is extremely exciting as we have a summer of activity coming up including a Home Nations tournament as well as the Masters World Cup. Born in South Africa, I have always been surrounded by sport and the incredible values that it brings and the experiences that can be shared both on and off the pitch. Travel has also been a passion of mine, so to have the opportunity to combine the two whilst providing players and supporters with an all-round experience is very exciting. Outside of the work, you will mostly find me on the pitch myself otherwise I am out exploring and finding new adventures with my two boys, black lab, family and friends.

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DAVID MCLAUGHLIN

Club & Schools Tours Sales

I’ve always had a real love for sport, from a young age I tried my hand at everything available to me, before finally settling on rugby and becoming a proud member of the Front Row Union. I’m very grateful that being involved in the game has given me the chance travel and see the world, with South Africa and the South of France being my favourite tour destinations. I’ve been lucky enough to turn my passion for sport into a career and enjoyed two years at Chaka Travel working in golf and school tour sales, before joining the team at Living with the Lions as our sales representative in Ireland. From a fan perspective, my sporting highlights would be being in the building to see local boy Carl Frampton beat Scott Quigg, following Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 and being in attendance for the incredible schools’ rugby derby in Paarl, where 25000 spectators get to see the number one and number two ranked schools in South Africa go head to head. From a work standpoint my highlight has undoubtedly been being in New Zealand for the 2017 Lions Tour, and most recently taking in four of the five Ashes Tests and seeing Cook’s 244 in the MCG.

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STEVE AVERY

Club & Schools Tours Sales

Having completed my degree in Landscape and Garden Design in 2001, I decided early on that wasn’t for me and went into football coaching. In 2003 I moved to Canada coaching football where I spent 2 years coaching club teams, running a kid’s summer camp and the highlight was coaching at a college level. I returned in late 2004 and started coaching with the Arsenal Schools before joining the Sports Travel Industry in June 2005.

I started my Sports Travel Career with Burleigh Travel where I worked for 7 years before Joining Gullivers in 2012, where I spent almost 10 years. Having joined LWTL with almost 17 years experience I have been fortunate to travel widely including USA, South America, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Grenada, and New Zealand as well as much of Europe. I love my job as it is Sport and Travel and two things I am very passionate about, but what I really enjoy is creating these trips for staff and students that will last long in the memories. For some it maybe a once in a life time trip and will be remembered for ever.

I was delighted to join LWTL when the opportunity came round, as they are a smaller ‘family’ based business giving attention to detail and a higher level of customer service, than you may not get at some of the bigger corporate firms. This is important to me, as I want to ensure the tours are enjoyable and run smoothly from the outset. I love watching all sports and when I am not working I enjoy spending time with my 11 year old son, who is also sport crazy. We enjoy watching and playing sport together and enjoy trips away in my camper van.

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KATIA CARDIN

Tour Coordinator

I have always loved sports and, from a young age, got involved in as many as possible, from netball and horse-riding to swimming and triathlons. I continued playing a range of sports throughout my education, where I enjoyed studying Physical Education at both GCSE and A Level. At university, I represented Royal Holloway in the BUCS and LUSL Competitive Leagues. I also had the privilege of being voted the Raise and Give Representative on the clubs committee, where I organized several fundraising events and tournaments.

Travel has always been a huge passion of mine. I first got the travel bug exploring Malta (where I was born) and while visiting family in Australia when I was 9. Since then, I have jumped at every travel opportunity, with highlights including a school expedition to Peru where we walked the Salkantay Trek and climbed Machu Picchu, island hopping around Greece for two months, and more recently traveling in Australia for six months.

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Experience

With over 21 years experience in both the sports and travel sectors.

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