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Relatively Speaking: father and daughter Jim and Danielle

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

By Karen Ireland

Former champion lawn and indoor bowler Jim Baker, who lives in Ballymena, has turned his glittering career on the bowling green into an equally successful one as a financial adviser. His daughter Danielle, who lives in Dublin, is also making a name for herself as an ambassador for Coca-Cola.

Growing up, I remember my dad playing bowls and being on TV, so I thought it was normal. I would go into school and people would say they saw my daddy on TV and I didn't understand why my friends' daddies weren't on TV as well.

I didn't realise until I was older what a big deal he was in the sport but I have always been very proud of him. I used to love going to all the Ireland games and getting caught up in the excitement of the TV crews being there and the crowd chanting dad's name. It was very exciting as a youngster to be part of that.

I attribute that partially to me going into a career in event management. I work for Coca-Cola on their Signature Serve campaign, which is an all-Ireland campaign aimed at bringing out the creativity in serving Coke. I love my job and that I get to do something which is so artistic and creative for a living.

My dad has given me some great career advice over the years and I would always go to him. He used to say if you do something you love you, will never have to work a day in your life, and I have found that to be true. I am very fortunate in that I get to travel all over Ireland representing the brand. It is building up to the grand final of the competition at the minute when one bartender will win a trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

Dad and I have very similar personalities and interests. When I was younger we would have gone to a lot of concerts together as we had the same tastes in music. We now follow a lot of sport together; particularly rugby; we are both massive Ireland and Ulster rugby fans.

As an only child I always make time to see mum and dad. I will tend to go home on a Sunday and have my dinner and dad and I will watch whatever sport is on TV together.

I've always admired my dad's work ethic and his dedication to the sport, both when he was playing and more recently as a manager. He works tirelessly, particularly with up and coming new talent to train, and that is all purely down to the love he has for the sport.

He is very modest about his success and he has a quiet nature about him but he is very driven. Bowling has been a massive part of our lives and still is.

Name: Danielle Baker

Age: 28

Occupation: Ambassador for Coca-Cola

Relationship to Jim: Daughter

Both my wife Marie and my daughter Danielle have always been exceptionally supportive of my sporting career. I have played bowls from when I was 15 and I won the World Indoor Singles Championship back in 1984. I gave up playing professionally six years ago and took up the post of manager of the Ireland squad.

This keeps me busy and there is a lot of work, not just with the players themselves but with the sports council and institutions. I am lucky that my family are behind me as it is very time-consuming and they need to be prepared and happy for me to put in the hours, otherwise it wouldn't work.

There is a lot more support for players today than there was back in my day. Today they have a whole team looking after them, including dietitians and psychiatrists. The sport, like everything, suffered due to the recession but thankfully there are still lots of new people coming to the fore as it is accessible to all ages and all fitness levels.

As an only child, Danielle has always been particularly close to me. She used to come to all my games when she was smaller. I was always trying to get her to play the sport - I only ever managed to get her to play one match but she was very good. She works too hard to play, although she is a real fitness fanatic and goes to the gym every day.

Danielle has a great job working as an ambassador for Coca-Cola. She organises events for them all over Ireland and we couldn't be prouder.

She is mainly based in Dublin now, but we either go down there to see her or she comes up at the weekends. When my wife and I visit her we tend to go out shopping in Dublin - or, rather, the ladies shop and daddy pays the bills! As an only daughter I think Danielle is spoilt rotten, but I am sure she wouldn't agree.

Danielle puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She is not afraid of hard work and she is exceptionally loyal. She commits to her job with her full ability and she is determined to make it a success; her campaign work stretches across Ireland and it has been noted and recognised by Coca-Cola globally. She never settles for second best - everything has to be done at the top of her game.

Name: Jim Baker

Age: 57

Occupation: Financial adviser/former world bowls champion

Relationship to Danielle: Father

Bowled over by his triumphs...

  • After finishing runner-up in the 1982 World Indoor Bowls Championship, Jim Baker went one better in 1984 clinching the World Indoor title
  • He was part of the gold medal winning triples in the 1984 World Outdoor Bowls Championship and gold medal winning fours in the 1988 World Outdoor Bowls Championship and 2004 World Outdoor Championship
  • He has also won silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games
  • He now works for independent financial advisers Baker Power Boyd, specialising in asset/wealth management.
  • For details, visit www.bakerpowerboyd.co.uk

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