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Love Basingstoke chats to 'Tunde Adelakun

    Tell us about yourself

    I was born in London, then went back to Nigeria with my parents quite early, and had my schooling in Nigeria. I studied to be a Chartered Surveyor, graduated, but was also hoping to play football professionally alongside. This was not practically possible as it had to be one or the other. By my parents' influence, and partly because I was probably too lazy to play the game meaningfully (jokes), I chose school. I cut short my football career even before it took off! Having said that, I did make my mind up pretty early that I would stay in the game of football in whatever capacity for as long as possible and that is exactly what I did. I started to write for newspapers, journals and tv stations, analysing football right from a young age. And when, after graduation, I moved back to England - to Basingstoke - I continued. I proposed to the BBC that I would want to be their anchorman for African football and they accepted me, where I started my own column in the BBC Match of the Day magazine and also was the African presenter and anchor on BBC Grandstand in the 1990s. I moved on from BBC and did some work with SkySports, again covering African football, then ESPN America and SuperSport in South Africa. I also established my own publication - New African Soccer magazine, which was circulated worldwide until the era of online publications put paid to that.

    I have lived in Basingstoke since 1996, and my family, my roots and my businesses are all here.

    Congratulations on your recent appointment as President of the Basingstoke Rotary Club. Can you tell us about your role?

    Rotary Club is one organisation that has been dear to my heart for so long. My dad was a Rotarian and growing up he took me to some of their meetings when I was much younger. So it sparked my interest. Now, having spent most of my life travelling the world following football, I couldn't really make the contribution to my community as I would have wanted to. And so, when I decided to start to wind down gradually but not completely, I joined Rotary to reconnect with the community that made me, and made my children and that was home to us. And to connect with the outside world too. My role as President though, is to bring much needed change and vibrancy to the club. To show the Basingstoke community that we care about all that concerns them and to use Rotary to draw like minds to come engage with each other socially, interact and network on business levels and do community work that gives that self-fulfilment that we all want.

        For those that don't know, what is the Rotary Club in Basingstoke and what do they do?

        The Rotary Club of Basingstoke was founded in 1927...meaning we will be 100 years old in a few years! We are a community minded club that cares about our community, supports many charities locally and internationally and also provides a platform for social and business engagement for people. It is a club for everyone and I am trying to use my presidential year to show that it is for all ages and all backgrounds. We want to be a 'doing club', supporting each other while having fun. Let's basically 'have fun doing good and changing lives' is one of my favourite phrases.

        How can people get involved?

        It will be a privilege to have people join us. We have a membership team and I have also decided to take it upon myself to welcome people. They can check our website and contact us through there or I can, and will be glad to, personally welcome them if they send me an email on Our membership lead, Jean Pattison ( is also very much committed to the cause and will be a useful point of contact on how to get into Rotary. It is not a big process and we are welcoming.

        What is the President's Recognition Award?

        One of my programmes that I have planned is to use Rotary to honour and celebrate individuals and groups that have gone over and beyond to shape lives of people in our community. They may be health workers, social workers, public servants, business people or sports people that have made Basingstoke proud. This is a bi-monthly award programme where we take nominations from members of the public to tell us who they think is worthy and deserving of our award. We had the first one in May and the next one is scheduled for early August. We are still taking nominations, by the way.

          We’ve heard you are the new Chair of the Rotary District for Equality and Diversity, tell us more about this.

          Yes indeed. As we have in many other spheres of society, we know that no matter how much progress we have made over the years we can still get better in the areas of diversity and inclusion. So I accepted the role of Chair of the District 1110, comprising the 66 Rotary clubs in the South of England, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands to help the club become more diverse, more inclusive and remove the notion that Rotary is only for (permit me to say) middle aged to old white retired gentlemen. Everyone is important in the community and everyone deserves a chance to be in Rotary, as long as their heart is pure to the objectives of the club.

          I am also a board member of Hampshire Football Association and a member of the Inclusion Advisory Group of the FA, so I know the importance of diversity and the need to embrace inclusivity in all that we do.

          I am also starting, through my charitable foundation, the International Schools Football Foundation - a diversity and education focused football academy where we will encourage our you to embrace schooling and academic excellence alongside and not at the expense of their football talent. This will be launched in the autumn.

          Finally, I am a motivational speaker, a keynote address speaker, a mental coach, a mentor and abook author on motivation and guides to success. In fact people call me The Success Coach. My motivational talks site is

          And dare I say....I have my own fashion clothing line called Tuche, and it is a very important feature of my person as I use my designs and clothes to spread a message of positivity around the world. We are on

          Our thanks to 'Tunde Adelakun for this blog.
          August 2023

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