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A shaw thing

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

Since I had ricked my foot the previous week and was headed for Bangalore accompanied by a not very elegant walking stick, a little medical tourism seemed to be in order. I ended up in the MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital for an “executive check-up”. This is the equivalent of those “well woman” checks they do in the UK for about £600. The principal difference from the UK tests is that my parcel of X-rays, ultrasound printouts, blood tests, lung function test and the results of the rest of the battery of investigations with which I was presented to take home – including notes on a consultation about my foot with the hospital’s top orthopaedic expert, which was thrown in – cost a princely £23, with no discount for journalists.

I was back in India for the official opening of the Kent Reliance Building Society’s outsourcing business Easiprocess, about which more next week. However, I can exclusively reveal that the medical tourism idea was not entirely mine since KRBS is thinking of entering the business and is already developing plans to fly Brits to Bangalore for surgery, then ship them off to somewhere nice like Goa for recuperation. Whatever will chief executive “maverick” Mike Lazenby think of next, I hear you gasp.

But the trip was not all fun and games. While I was shedding at least two armfuls of blood in the name of journalistic research, another party of invitees, including Chris Taylor, CEO of risk insurer London & European, and Lending Strategy’s John Murray and his wife Pam visited a children’s Aids hospice in Mangalore, where Chris handed over a donation from his firm of £10,000.

The following day, Paul Scally, chairman of Gillingham Football Club, whose stadium has recently been renamed the KRBS Priestfield Stadium after a sponsorship deal, visited an orphan children’s village on the outskirts of Bangalore and presented the children with 100 football strips. Photographs of sundry KRBS executives wearing similar promotional shirts for the event have so far very wisely been kept under wraps.

Golfers employed by KRBS: none.

Purple toes: two. I didn’t realise that when you sprain your ankle your toes change colour.

Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday

And so it came to pass that my dear boss Sam Dunn bowed gracefully out of his role as personal finance editor of the Sindie after nearly five long years.

As I pointed out in my speech, young Samuel has come a long way from his murky days as a cub reporter on the Plymouth Herald, where his early masterpieces included “What a weight to go. Champion slimmer Jane Evans shed three stones and 13 pounds in 16 months” and “He ain’t heavy, he’s my bunny: Brindle is a truly a giant among rabbits.”

At the same time, I think the less said about Sam’s leaving page – the bus, the lasagne and the rest – the better.

The well attended event at the Crosse Keys pub in the City included a range of dignitaries from the Direct Line, Virgin Money, Nationwide, Halifax, Aegon, Lifesearch and AWD Chase de Vere press offices and a motley crew of hacks from such esteemed publications as The Times, the Mirror, the Express and, of course, the one and only Money Marketing.

The Virgin boys and Nationwide lads felt the need to line their stomachs with poppadums but the remainder of us stuck to the maxim that “eating is cheating” and pressed on with the task in hand.

Suffice to say that by the time I left the pub at closing time, I seemed to have acquired some Sambuca goggles and a paintbrush.

The Bath/Bristol contingent made a swift exit for the last train home although Hargreaves Lansdown’s Ben Yearsley was rather sad to hear that we had gone on from the pub to “somewhere of ill repute” and admits thathe wished he had stayed.

It’s not my place to say whether London & Country’s James Cotton had had one drink too many before his departure but suffice to say he left his credit card behind the bar. This may not be particularly surprising behaviour at an occasion such as this but is made far funnier by the fact that the Mirror’s “cheeky chappie” James Coney called Mr Cotton the following morning pretending to be a member of staff from the Crosse Keys pub. And he totally fell for it.

Number of leaving-do attendees who nearly got into a rather heated fisticuffs at the Crosse Keys pub: three. They shall remain nameless.

Number of tabloid journalists who have addressed me as “cupcake”: one.

Sam Shaw is in Ibiza.


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