The Red Cross has a weekly feature where they chat to various staff and volunteers called Famous for Five Days and this week it was my turn. It’s only available on their intranet so I’ve included it below for anyone who might be interested.
Dave McQuirk has been a Red Cross fire and emergency support service (FESS) and emergency response volunteer for nearly two years. He talks about Steampunk, makeshift beds, and his admiration for one-footed Vikings.
Why did you decide to work for the Red Cross?
I’d heard about the work of the FESS and I wanted to help make a difference when people need it most. With a day job background in emergency planning it seemed the best fit for my skills. I also did the Disaster Response Challenge in 2008, which gave me a good introduction to the Red Cross as well as being a fun weekend.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had to do?
I worked for a unit trust company for four months and we had to work ten-hour days and seven-day weeks because it was the ‘company way’. Sitting doing bookkeeping for that long is appalling. It taught me that to be any good you need to balance work and real life.
Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
Mark Steel, the comedian, as he has a way of bringing people and issues to life. Billy Bragg, the singer, as I’ve loved his music since I was in my early teens and he’s introduced me to all sorts of areas of life. Finally, the Viking known as Onund Treefoot. He adapted to having one leg so well he was known as being “as good as any man in Iceland, be he whole or not”.
What is your favourite book?
I’m not sure I really have a favourite, as there are a number of books I love. The book I’ve re-read the most is The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It assumes that Charles Babbage has managed to build his difference engine and computing exists in the Victorian era, being mechanically rather than electronically based. The altered version of reality that this presents is a wonderful setting. It was one of the forerunners of the Steampunk movement.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
It was being tucked into a bed made up on the back seat of my parents’ Morris Minor for a very early start on a trip to see family up in Lancashire. It used to take eight to nine hours or more from Southampton. How lax about safety in cars we were back then!
What keeps you awake at night?
I’ve always been a poor sleeper, so sometimes almost anything does. I think the thing that can keep me awake reliably is going over mistakes I’ve made in the past. Not very helpful and a habit I need to get out of.
What would be your ultimate fancy dress party theme?
I think it would have to be ‘What did you want to be when you grew up?’. It’d be really interesting to see what we all dreamed of being and where we ended up. I’d have to go as a helicopter pilot or a marine biologist – very different from the jobs I ended up doing.
Who or what is the love of your life?
I’m a trustee for a disability charity and I’m finding that more and more rewarding. Being able to help shape change that improves people’s lives is wonderful and something I hope to be involved in for a long time to come. Fairness, equality and supporting vulnerable people are some of my passions.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
John Cusack I think. He’s a taller, much better looking version of me and his films seem to have a similar sense of humour to mine – excluding 2012, which is wonderfully over-the-top.
You’ve won £1 million. What’s the first thing you’d buy?
I’ve always wanted a proper Land Rover that I could get really muddy so it’d have to be that. It’s something I have no use for from day to day, so it would be my lottery splurge.