Fireman, entrepreneur, adventure sports enthusiast, poet and professional speaker all in one! Malcolm Castle is prolific, intelligent, charismatic and funny – the ideal after dinner speaker.
Born in Nelson Lancashire, Malcolm’s first year was spent on a farm on the moors above Rochdale. His move southwards to Shrewsbury happened when his father realised the farm couldn't support a family of four but teaching about farming could. Shropshire had an agricultural college and so it was here where he grew up.
Malcolm’s teenage education was at the local 'Secondary modern school for boys'. It was a rough, tough school which taught him more about life than academia.
After failing to become a helicopter pilot, Malcolm happened across the fire service. Surprisingly, it seemed to fit. Malcolm had variety, adventure, camaraderie, more challenges than he could shake a stick at, time off, enough money and, most of all, the joy of looking forward to going to work!
"Malcolm’s “larger than life” stature and personality come across in his highly entertaining and humorous talk on the lighter side of being a firefighter. He had his audience enthralled the whole time and I wholeheartedly recommend anyone to book him."
His life away from the job has been guided by the maxim "If you're gonna be a bear, be a Grizzly!", so if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well. He has a love of adventure sports, and so far has spent varying numbers of years doing. . . .scuba diving, water skiing, snow skiing and snowboarding, paragliding, hang gliding, paramotoring, microlighting, sky diving, kite surfing, kite buggying, pot-holing, and rock climbing, with the odd bungee-jump thrown in for good measure.
Not content with adventure alone, Malcolm also enjoys the more artistic side of life and has had the pleasure of acting, producing and directing plays, playing the guitar, writing songs and poetry (funny poems!), ballroom and modern jive dancing, singing, and enjoying shows and musicals.
How did the corporate speaking start and can you remember your first speaking engagement?
It all started 16 or so years ago, when I was approached by an elderly lady who was looking for a speaker for her 'Ladies circle' club. She asked if I had any humorous stories about the fire service which I could come and share with her "Ladies" on the following Tuesday afternoon. Now after 14 years of storytelling around the mess table at the fire station, I had lots of material from which to create a suitable speech, and did so with much enthusiasm. The afternoon was a roaring success, and so started the 'word of mouth' recommendations which has seen me speak to approaching 100 groups. These have ranged from three very elderly ladies sitting on a sofa in a tiny living room, with me giving my speech from a stool in front of the fire, to addressing the farewell dinner and dance of the South Shropshire Council, at a stately home in the east of the county.
Malcolm has built a successful business which he has run alongside his fire service career for the last 30 years.
The aim of the business: to finance the adventure sports he so enjoys!
Malcom’s third book, Going to Blazes, has been commissioned, and the whole series has been launched in the US.
He has been recruited by the BBC as their ‘fire service authority’, and he has appeared on various TV shows, including a chat show about dealing with trauma.
Fireman, entrepreneur, adventure sports enthusiast, poet and professional speaker all in one!
For further information or to book Malcolm Castle, call us at Speakers Corner on +44 (0) 20 8365 3200 or email email@example.com
Interview with Malcolm Castle
And your last event?
My most recent engagement was at a local women's club where I spoke to 78 ladies about the diversity of the call-outs we have attended over the past three decades. They all appeared to enjoy the 55 minutes I was speaking for and kept me there for a further hour asking questions over a cup of tea. It was the diversity which surprised them the most. In my introduction I say that if your problem is legal, you call the police, if it's medical, the ambulance, but for everything else, you call the fire service.... and expect us to know exactly how to deal with whatever we're presented with quickly and effectively.
Which event has been your favourite and why?
My favourite event was the quarterly get-together of the North Shropshire Vintage Car club. They met in a function room attached to a traditional style pub, and as they had finished the business part of the meeting an hour or so earlier, I was greeted by a large room full of well oiled ('scuse the pun) enthusiasts, ready for a good laugh. I was pounced upon by the organiser who made a witty comment about my size. I continued the banter, and so the stage was set for what turned out to be an evening of fun, laughs, pathos, but most of all good natured interaction between them and me.
What can a typical corporate audience learn from your experiences?
As I mentioned in answer 3, people are always amazed at the diversity of what we are called on to deal with. Audiences will leave having learned what it's like in today's fire service, how the variety of bizarre, obscure, interesting, hilarious and sometimes downright silly call-outs keep us on our toes, how we're allowed 33 seconds to get out of the station, on days, but when we're on nights and in bed we're allowed a little longer..... 53 seconds. They will also learn about team workmanship, individual strengths and weaknesses borne in mind to get the job done in the best way, thinking on your feet, having a good link between your head and your hands, and dealing with the emotional trauma of one job thus enabling you to be effective on the next one. All in all it's been my experience that the groups i've spoken to have had a good, fun, and interesting evening. I tell most of my stories from a humorous viewpoint, but when I tell a more serious one (when the occasion demands it) the effect is more pronounced and thus memorable.