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Me and my health: Brian Wilson discusses his lifestyle


The 46-year-old, who lives in Keady, Co Armagh, is the assistant producer of the Belfast Tattoo and was a senior drum major for the past four years at the event.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?

A: I don't go to the gym but my work - I have five different part-time jobs - keeps me fit. I work as a healthcare assistant at Craigavon Hospital and can do 20,000 steps when I'm on night duty and oversee the collection boxes at 50 shops for Cancer Research which I do once a month. I also work with Santa Claus as a reindeer handler getting the reindeer ready for Santa, ready for flying and making sure Rudolph's nose is shiny and red.

Q: What is the worst illness you have had?

A: Nothing, I've never been ill which I put down to keeping active through my jobs, getting out in the fresh air... and having five to six holidays a year. I travel a lot.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: It's atrocious because I was a chef for 20 years and we are notorious for not eating well. I would stop for a plate of chips in the kitchen then start cooking. This morning I had two slices of toast for breakfast thickly covered with lemon curd. I will have lunch if I've time which isn't very often, then dinner is meat, potatoes and veg. I try not to snack but I'm a chocoholic.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Skipping meals is something I'm guilty of but I don't drink tea or coffee at all. The last time I had a cup of tea was 20 years ago. Because I miss out on tea and coffee I can get dehydrated - I don't drink much water or juice either.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I don't smoke and am not much of a drinker, I never was. I may have a glass of wine occasionally and it causes quite a stir with my friends who will comment 'oh look, Brian's drinking'.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I only take turmeric for my old bones, once in the morning and in the evening. A friend of mine gives it to his horses to help lubricate their joints so I thought 'if it's good enough for horses, it's good enough for me.' It is very expensive here so I buy it when I'm in the States as it is much cheaper there.

Major event: Brian Wilson at the Belfast Tattoo

Q: How do you take time out??

A: After the Belfast Tattoo I will be involved in the Royal Scottish Bands Appreciation event so I will take time off a few days before and after just to be by myself. My work has taken me to San Francisco, Japan and Dallas this year so I need a few days to recover from jet lag. When I'm away though I'm always a real tourist with a camera around my neck and a camera phone too.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: You can sleep when you're dead...with an event like the Tattoo ahead of me I do not sleep. There are too many things to do and going around in my head. I go to bed late at about 11.30pm -midnight. This morning I had radio interviews to do and was up early as I also had a Christmas cake to bake.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: There's no point as it's going to happen anyway. Turning 30 felt old but as I have got older I have learned to enjoy it. I see so many people in my job at the hospital who are very, very sick so I know now to make the most of life. For my 40th birthday I volunteered as a marine biologist and went shark diving off the coast of South Africa and I'm planning to go to Machu Picchu in Peru for my 50th.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Having a good attitude. I was joking around with a patient at 4am once and she said afterwards 'I forgot what I was in for, for 10 minutes.'.

  • Belfast Tattoo, SSE Arena, Belfast, Thursday, August 31, Friday, September 1 and 2, at 6pm. Booking, tel: 028 9073 9074, visit

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